Special issue on green photonics
J. Opt. , Volume 14 - Issue 2 p. 020201
Photovoltaic (PV) cells can provide virtually unlimited amounts of energy by effectively converting sunlight into clean electrical power. Over the years, significant research and development efforts have been devoted to improving the structural and charge transport properties of the materials used in PV cells. Despite these efforts, the current energy conversion efficiencies of commercial solar cells are still substantially lower than the ultimate limits set by thermodynamics. Economic arguments in addition to the scarcity of some semiconductors and materials used in transparent conductive oxides are also driving us to use less and less material in a cell. For these reasons, it is clear that new approaches need to be found. One possible solution that is more-or-less orthogonal to previous approaches is aimed at managing the photons rather than the electrons or atoms in a cell. This type of photon management is termed Green Photonics.