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Lightweight Carbon Fiber Mirrors for Solar Concentrator Applications

Vaidya, Nina and Kelzenberg, Michael D. and Espinet-González, Pilar and Vinogradova, Tatiana G. and Huang, Jing-Shun and Leclerc, Christophe and Naqavi, Ali and Warmann, Emily C. and Pellegrino, Sergio and Atwater, Harry A. (2017) Lightweight Carbon Fiber Mirrors for Solar Concentrator Applications. In: 2017 IEEE 44th Photovoltaic Specialist Conference (PVSC). IEEE , Piscataway, NJ, pp. 572-577. ISBN 978-1-5090-5605-7.

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Lightweight parabolic mirrors for solar concentrators have been fabricated using carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) and a nanometer scale optical surface smoothing technique. The smoothing technique improved the surface roughness of the CFRP surface from ~3 μm root mean square (RMS) for as-cast to ~5 nm RMS after smoothing. The surfaces were then coated with metal, which retained the sub-wavelength surface roughness, to produce a high-quality specular reflector. The mirrors were tested in an 11x geometrical concentrator configuration and achieved an optical efficiency of 78% under an AM0 solar simulator. With further development, lightweight CFRP mirrors will enable dramatic improvements in the specific power, power per unit mass, achievable for concentrated photovoltaics in space.

Item Type:Book Section
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Kelzenberg, Michael D.0000-0002-6249-2827
Espinet-González, Pilar0000-0002-7656-0077
Huang, Jing-Shun0000-0002-7531-4691
Warmann, Emily C.0000-0002-2810-4608
Pellegrino, Sergio0000-0001-9373-3278
Atwater, Harry A.0000-0001-9435-0201
Additional Information:© 2017 IEEE. We acknowledge funding from Northrop Grumman Corporation. This effort made use of facilities provided by the Kavli Nanoscience Institute, the Molecular Materials Research Center, the Resnick Institute, and the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis at Caltech. We acknowledge the helpful contributions of Mark Kruer, Mike Levesque, and Erik Kurman at Northrop Grumman.
Group:Kavli Nanoscience Institute, Resnick Sustainability Institute, JCAP, Space Solar Power Project
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Northrop Grumman CorporationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:mirrors, solar energy, optical device fabrication, polymers, ray tracing, space solar, optical design
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20181109-075349019
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:N. Vaidya et al., "Lightweight Carbon Fiber Mirrors for Solar Concentrator Applications," 2017 IEEE 44th Photovoltaic Specialist Conference (PVSC), Washington, DC, 2017, pp. 572-577. doi: 10.1109/PVSC.2017.8366046
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:90780
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:13 Nov 2018 18:04
Last Modified:25 Feb 2020 19:29

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