|The Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD) repository holds full-text theses and dissertations submitted for higher degrees at the University (including submissions from former Cape Technikon and Peninsula Technikon).|
Energy efficiency of solar heat concentrators using glass coated Al doped ZnO transparent conducting oxide as selective absorber
Transparent conductive oxides (TCOs), which are widely used in transparent electronics, possess a spectral selectivity that is suitable for a solar material absorber. TCO materials have a plasma wavelength in the infrared region. Consequently electromagnetic waves shorter than a plasma wavelength are transmitted through the material, while longer electromagnetic waves are reflected on the surface. In contrast to the opaque solar selective absorbers, the plasma wavelength in TCO materials can be easily tuned by controlling the heavy doping process to match the peak shift of thermal radiation at higher temperatures. Furthermore, the use of TCO in conjunction with a solar absorber relaxes the spectral selectivity of the latter and thus widens the selection of the solar absorber; subsequently the only requirement is a thermally stable black body. Aluminum doped Zinc Oxide (AZO) is a class of TCO materials which is cost effective to manufacture due to abundance ZnO, and Aluminum raw materials. This thesis is based on the synthesis of Al doped ZnO thin films nanostructure using radio frequency RF magnetron sputtering process. The influence of the deposition parameters, including argon working pressure and substrate temperature, on the structural and optical properties of the AZO thin films is investigated by means of X-ray diffraction (XRD) and optical spectroscopy (UV-VIS-NIR). The optical constants of AZO films are extracted from transmittance and reflectance spectra using a combination of Drude and Lorentz dielectric function model. A computer simulation is developed to calculate the radiative properties of Al doped ZnO thin films nanostructure. The thermal emittance and solar absorptance is predicted indirectly from optical reflectance and transmittance of AZO films by invoking Kirchhoff’s law. A Special attention has been paid to the parameters that influence the spectral properties of the AZO films including carrier’s mobility, Al doping concentration and film thickness. Carrier’s mobility turned out to have the most significant influence on the spectrally selective performance of AZO films.