Off-axis holographic lens spectrum-splitting photovoltaic system for direct and diffuse solar energy conversion

Shelby D. Vorndran, Benjamin Chrysler, Brian Wheelwright, Roger Angel, Zachary Holman, Raymond Kostuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


This paper describes a high-efficiency, spectrum-splitting photovoltaic module that uses an off-axis volume holographic lens to focus and disperse incident solar illumination to a rectangular shaped high-bandgap indium gallium phosphide cell surrounded by strips of silicon cells. The holographic lens design allows efficient collection of both direct and diffuse illumination to maximize energy yield. We modeled the volume diffraction characteristics using rigorous coupled-wave analysis, and simulated system performance using nonsequential ray tracing and PV cell data from the literature. Under AM 1.5 illumination conditions the simulated module obtained a 30.6% conversion efficiency. This efficiency is a 19.7% relative improvement compared to the more efficient cell in the system (silicon). The module was also simulated under a typical meteorological year of direct and diffuse irradiance in Tucson, Arizona, and Seattle, Washington. Compared to a flat panel silicon module, the holographic spectrum splitting module obtained a relative improvement in energy yield of 17.1% in Tucson and 14.0% in Seattle. An experimental proof-of-concept volume holographic lens was also fabricated in dichromated gelatin to verify the main characteristics of the system. The lens obtained an average first-order diffraction efficiency of 85.4% across the aperture at 532 nm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7522-7529
Number of pages8
JournalApplied optics
Issue number27
StatePublished - Sep 20 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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