OSA's Digital Library

Energy Express

Energy Express

  • Editor: Christian Seassal
  • Vol. 22, Iss. S2 — Mar. 10, 2014
  • pp: A498–A510

Proof of principle demonstration of a self-tracking concentrator

Volker Zagolla, Eric Tremblay, and Christophe Moser  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 22, Issue S2, pp. A498-A510 (2014)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (3880 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



We present to the best of our knowledge the first successful demonstration of a planar, self-tracking solar concentrator system capable of a 2-dimensional angular acceptance of over 40°. The light responsive mechanism allows for efficient waveguide coupling and light concentration independently of the angle of incidence within the angular range. A coupling feature is created at the focal spot of the optical system by locally melting a phase change material which acts as an actuator due to the large thermal expansion. A dichroic prism membrane reflects the visible light so that it is efficiently coupled into a waveguide at the point of the created coupling feature. We show simulation results for concentration and efficiency, validated by an experimental proof of concept demonstration of a self-tracking concentrator array element. Simulations show that a system based on this approach can achieve 150X effective concentration by scaling the system collecting area to reasonable dimensions (40 x 10 cm2).

© 2014 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(220.1770) Optical design and fabrication : Concentrators
(230.7390) Optical devices : Waveguides, planar
(350.6050) Other areas of optics : Solar energy

ToC Category:
Waveguide Concentrators

Original Manuscript: November 22, 2013
Revised Manuscript: January 30, 2014
Manuscript Accepted: February 19, 2014
Published: March 3, 2014

Virtual Issues
Renewable Energy and the Environment (2014) Optics Express

Volker Zagolla, Eric Tremblay, and Christophe Moser, "Proof of principle demonstration of a self-tracking concentrator," Opt. Express 22, A498-A510 (2014)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. R. Swanson, “Photovoltaic Concentrators,” in Handbook of Photovoltaic Science A. Luque, and S. Hegedus (John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2005), pp. 449–503.
  2. http://www.entechsolar.com/products/solarvolt.htm , last access 13.01.2014.
  3. http://fn-solar.com/#2 , last access 13.01.2014.
  4. R. Reisfeld and S. Neuman, “Planar solar energy converter and concentrator based on uranyl-doped glass,” Nature 274(5667), 144–145 (1978). [CrossRef]
  5. R. Reisfeld, “New developments in luminescence for solar energy utilization,” Opt. Mater. 32(9), 850–856 (2010). [CrossRef]
  6. J. M. Castro, D. Zhang, B. Myer, and R. K. Kostuk, “Energy collection efficiency of holographic planar solar concentrators,” Appl. Opt. 49(5), 858–870 (2010). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  7. J. H. Karp, E. J. Tremblay, and J. E. Ford, “Planar micro-optic solar concentrator,” Opt. Express 18(2), 1122–1133 (2010). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  8. F. Duerr, Y. Meuret, and H. Thienpont, “Tracking integration in concentrating photovoltaics using laterally moving optics,” Opt. Express 19(S3Suppl 3), A207–A218 (2011). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  9. J. M. Hallas, K. A. Baker, J. H. Karp, E. J. Tremblay, and J. E. Ford, “Two-axis solar tracking accomplished through small lateral translations,” Appl. Opt. 51(25), 6117–6124 (2012). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  10. M. J. Clifford and D. Eastwood, “Design of a novel passive tracker,” Sol. Energy 77(3), 269–280 (2004). [CrossRef]
  11. http://www.zomeworks.com/photovoltaic-tracking-racks/ , last access 14.11.2013.
  12. K. A. Baker, J. H. Karp, E. J. Tremblay, J. M. Hallas, and J. E. Ford, “Reactive self-tracking solar concentrators: concept, design, and initial materials characterization,” Appl. Opt. 51(8), 1086–1094 (2012). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  13. P. Schmaelzle and G. Whiting, “Lower critical solution temperature (LCST) polymers as a self-adaptive alternative to mechanical tracking for solar energy harvesting devices,” MRS Fall Meeting & Exhibit (2010).
  14. V. Zagolla, E. Tremblay, and C. Moser, “Light induced fluidic waveguide coupling,” Opt. Express 20(S6), A924–A931 (2012). [CrossRef]
  15. V. Zagolla, E. Tremblay, and C. Moser, “Efficiency of a micro-bubble reflector based, self-adaptive waveguide solar concentrator,” Proc. SPIE 8620, 862010 (2013). [CrossRef]
  16. E. J. Tremblay, D. Loterie, and C. Moser, “Thermal phase change actuator for self-tracking solar concentration,” Opt. Express 20(S6), A964–A976 (2012). [CrossRef]
  17. E. T. Carlen and C. H. Mastrangelo, “Electrothermally activated paraffin microactuators,” J. Microelectromech. Syst. 11(3), 165–174 (2002). [CrossRef]
  18. H. J. Sant, T. Ho, and B. K. Gale, “An in situ heater for a phase-change-material-based actuation system,” J. Micromech. Microeng. 20(8), 085039 (2010). [CrossRef]
  19. E. Tremblay, V. Zagolla, D. Loterie, and C. Moser, “Self-tracking planar concentrator using a solar actuated phase-change mechanism,” Proc. SPIE 8620, 862011 (2013). [CrossRef]
  20. A. Shah, H. Schade, M. Vanecek, J. Meier, E. Vallat-Sauvain, N. Wyrsch, U. Kroll, C. Droz, and J. Bailat, “Thin-film silicon solar cell technology,” Prog. Photovolt. Res. Appl. 12(23), 113–142 (2004). [CrossRef]
  21. http://www.altadevices.com/pdfs/single_cell.pdf , last access 13.01.2014.
  22. S. Liu, D. Ding, S. R. Johnson, and Y.-H. Zhang, “Optimal optical designs for planar GaAs single-junction solar cells with textured and reflective surfaces,” Proc. SPIE 8256, 82560M (2012). [CrossRef]

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

Supplementary Material

» Media 1: AVI (3468 KB)     
» Media 2: AVI (3865 KB)     

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited