Reactive granular optics for passive tracking of the sun

I. Frenkel, A. Niv

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


The growing need for cost-effective renewable energy sources is hampered by the stagnation in solar cell technology, thus preventing a substantial reduction in the module and energy-production price. Lowering the energy-production cost could be achieved by using modules with efficiency. One of the possible means for increasing the module efficiency is concentrated photovoltaics (CPV). CPV, however, requires complex and accurate active tracking of the sun that reduces much of its cost-effectiveness. Here, we propose a passive tracking scheme based on a reactive optical device. The optical reaction is achieved by a new kind of light activated mechanical force that acts on micron-sized particles. This optical force allows the formation of granular disordered optical media that can be switched from being opaque to become transparent based on the intensity of light it interacts with. Such media gives rise to an efficient passive tracking scheme that when combined with an external optical cavity forms a new solar power conversion approach. Being external to the cell itself, this approach is indifferent to the type of semiconducting material that is used, as well as to other aspects of the cell design. This, in turn, liberates the cell layout from its optical constraints thus paving the way to higher efficiencies at lower module price.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNext Generation Technologies for Solar Energy Conversion VIII
EditorsGavin Conibeer, Oleg V. Sulima
ISBN (Electronic)9781510611931
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017
EventNext Generation Technologies for Solar Energy Conversion VIII 2017 - San Diego, United States
Duration: 8 Aug 20179 Aug 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceNext Generation Technologies for Solar Energy Conversion VIII 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego


  • CPV
  • OMF
  • Passive tracking
  • Reactive reflector

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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