Rapid In-Situ Metrology of a Heliostat Field Using Starlight

Case ID:

This technology is a means of rapidly measuring the optical properties of each heliostat in a heliostat field using starlight. It is ideal for use with heliostats that can have their shape actively changed to maximize their light concentration effectiveness as they track the sun over the course of the day.

Heliostats are devices that track the sun over the course of a day, reflecting the sunlight to a stationary target. Large arrays of heliostats, or “heliostat fields,” can be used to concentrate and focus light on one location such as a spot at the top of a tower. The heat generated from the concentrated light can then be used to generate power or provide a heat source for industrial operations without generating a carbon footprint.

Heliostats require calibration to ensure they are reflecting and concentrating light as efficiently as possible. There are many different techniques to measure a heliostat’s properties for calibration; however, existing techniques tend to be slow, expensive, or imprecise. This technology is a new, fast, and precise method for measuring heliostat properties that uses observed starlight and can be used to calibrate an entire heliostat field in one night, avoiding interruptions of daytime operations.


  • Solar power
  • Concentrating solar power
  • Deformable heliostats or heliostats with alterable shape


  • Fast
  • Efficient
  • Precise
  • Avoids disruption of normal daytime operation
  • Can measure all heliostats over the course of one night
Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Richard Weite
Senior Licensing Manager, College of Optical Sciences
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
James Angel
Ryker Eads