Antireflective mesoporous silica coatings by optimization of water content in acid-catalyzed sol-gel method for application in glass covers of concentrated photovoltaic modules
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Porous silica layers with outstanding antireflective properties have been prepared by acid-catalyzed sol-gel process in presence of organic phases as structure directing agents (SDA) and excess water, with the aim of offering a cost-competitive, easy up-scaling and high efficiency process that contributes to reduce current levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of concentrating photovoltaics (CPV). The process has been optimized by controlling the water/alkoxide ratio, which is an important structure-regulating tool, having a strong influence in the structural properties of sol-gel synthesized materials. Hydrolysis of the inorganic precursor has been accomplished in high water/alkoxide conditions and in the presence of SDAs. Evaporation induced self-assembly (EISA) during coating deposition and the scanning of four types of SDAs have permitted to select the coating that fulfilled specific thickness and refractive index values with, in parallel, excellent results on sol stability. The final ...