Journal article

Thermal phase change actuator for self-tracking solar concentration

We present a proof of principle demonstration of a reversible in-plane actuator activated by focused sunlight, and describe a concept for its use as a self-tracking mechanism in a planar solar concentrator. By actuating at the location of focused sunlight and splitting the solar spectrum for actuation energy, this phase change device aims to provide the adaptive mechanism necessary to efficiently couple concentrated solar light from a lens into a planar lightguide in a manner that is insensitive to incidence angle. As a preliminary demonstration we present a planar actuator array capable of in-plane deflections of > 50 mu m when illuminated with focused light from a solar simulator and demonstrate solar light activated frustrated total internal reflection (FTIR) with the actuator array. We further propose how this solar induced FTIR effect can be modified using a dichroic facet array to self-adaptively couple and concentrate solar light into a planar lightguide. (C) 2012 Optical Society of America


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