10th July 2019

Fiber-Coupled Luminescent Concentrators for Medical Diagnostics, Agriculture, and Telecommunications

While luminescent concentrators (LCs) are mainly designed to harvest sunlight and convert its energy into electricity, the same concept can be advantageous in alternative applications. Examples of such applications are demonstrated here by coupling the edge-guided light of high-performance LCs based on CuInSeS/ZnS quantum dots into optical fibers with emission covering visible-to-NIR spectral regions. In particular, a cost-efficient, miniature broadband light source for medical diagnostics, a spectral-conversion and light-guiding device for agriculture, and a large-area broadband tunable detector for telecommunications are demonstrated. Various design considerations and performance optimization approaches are discussed and summarized. Prototypes of the devices are manufactured and tested. Individual elements of the broadband light source show coupling efficiencies up to 1%, which is sufficient to saturate typical fiber-coupled spectrometers at a minimal integration time of 1 ms using 100 mW blue excitation. Agricultural devices are capable of delivering ∼10% of photosynthetically active radiation (per device) converted from absorbed sunlight to the lower canopy of plants, which boosted the tomato yield in a commercial greenhouse by 7% (fresh weight). Finally, large-scale prototype detectors can be used to discern time-modulated unfocused signals with an average power as low as 1 μW, which would be useful for free-space telecommunication systems. Fully optimized devices are expected to make significant impacts on speed and bandwidth of free-space telecommunication systems, medical diagnostics, and greenhouse crop yields. Read the full article here ACS Nano link: https://doi.org/10.1021/acsnano.9b03335