Free-Form Solar Concentrating Optics

Technology #ua16-032

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Justin Hyatt
Engineer, Optical Sciences
James Angel
Regents Professor, Astronomy
Brian Wheelwright
Graduate Asistant, Research, Optical Sciences
Managed By
Amy Phillips
Sr. Licensing Manager (520) 621-9579

Title: Highly Efficient Solar Tracking Panel

Invention: Researchers at the University of Arizona have designed a novel solar energy collector with low cost dish mirrors that distributes highly concentrated sunlight onto an array of small multi-junction PV cells using a novel curved lenslet array.  The lenslets improve the efficiency of the energy conversion to electricity by uniformly illuminating the entire area of each pv cell.

The same researchers have also created a new overall architecture for for collecting solar radiation and converting the radiation to useful energy.  The new architecture employs a dense,rotating field of nearly flat mirrors to illuminate a rotating thermal cavity receiver.

Background: Concentrated photovoltaics have become a popular way to improve solar energy collection efficiency and reduce the footprint of the collectors.  However, the optical solutions for placing that concentrated energy onto individual PV cells tend to only partially fill each cell rather than uniformly filling the full available area of the cell. There is a need to maximize the amount of energy available for conversion for each individual cell.  Further, there is a need to efficiently collect solar energy to convert the radiation into primarily thermal energy.


•       Concentrated solar energy collection and conversion


•       Less expensive

•       Lacking complexity

•       Higher concentration and efficiency

•       Better performance tracking

Licensing Manager: 

Amy Phillips

Refer to UA Case Number UA16-032