ARPA-E grant supports UCSC research on high-power 'sun to fiber' solar device

Dec. 11, 2012
Santa Cruz, CA--A $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) will support research at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) on the development of optics that concentrate and focus sunlight into an optical fiber.

Santa Cruz, CA--A $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) will support research at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) on the development of optics that concentrate and focus sunlight into an optical fiber. Applications would include photovoltaic conversion, solar lighting, and thermal storage.

The device is based on a thin-film waveguide that collects sunlight and matches the resulting étendue (cross-sectional area of the beam times the solid angle) to the acceptance angle and collection area of an optical fiber with minimum losses.

The project is a collaboration between the Baskin School of Engineering at UCSC and two Silicon Valley companies, Antropy (Los Angeles, CA) and Tango Systems (San Jose, CA). Antropy is the exclusive owner of the basic patents for the technology used in designing and fabricating the new optical device; Tango Systems specializes in production sputtering systems and thin-film deposition services.

The project involves a new way to use solar concentrators, which are typically deployed in massive setups in which a large array of mirrors concentrates solar energy on a linear absorber or a tower. The new plan is to collect concentrated sunlight and transmit it through optical fibers to be stored or used remotely without significant losses.

Source: http://news.ucsc.edu/2012/12/sun-to-fiber.html


About the Author

John Wallace | Senior Technical Editor (1998-2022)

John Wallace was with Laser Focus World for nearly 25 years, retiring in late June 2022. He obtained a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and physics at Rutgers University and a master's in optical engineering at the University of Rochester. Before becoming an editor, John worked as an engineer at RCA, Exxon, Eastman Kodak, and GCA Corporation.

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