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Proceedings Paper

Ultralight stretched Fresnel lens solar concentrator for space power applications
Author(s): Mark J. O'Neill; Michael F. Piszczor; Michael I. Eskenazi; A. J. McDanal; Patrick J. George; Matthew M. Botke; Henry W. Brandhorst; David L. Edwards; David T. Hoppe
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Paper Abstract

A unique ultra-light solar concentrator has recently been developed for space power applications. The concentrator comprises a flexible, 140-micron-thick, line-focus Fresnel lens, made in a continuous process from space-qualified transparent silicone rubber material. For deployment and support in space, end arches are used to tension the lens material in a lengthwise fashion, forming a cylindrical stressed membrane structure. The resultant lens provides high optical efficiency, outstanding tolerance for real-world errors and aberrations, and excellent focusing performance. The stretched lens is used to collect and focus sunlight at 8X concentration onto high-efficiency multi-junction photovoltaic cells, which directly convert the incident solar energy to electricity. The Stretched Lens Array (SLA) has been measured at over 27% net solar-to-electric conversion efficiency for space sunlight, and over 30% net solar-to-electric conversion efficiency for terrestrial sunlight. More importantly, the SLA provides over 180 W/kg specific power at a greatly reduced cost compared to conventional planar photovoltaic arrays in space. The cost savings are due to the use of 85% less of the expensive solar cell material per unit of power produced. SLA is a direct descendent of the award-winning SCARLET array which performed flawlessly on the NASA/JPL Deep Space 1 spacecraft from 1998-2001.

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 December 2003
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 5179, Optical Materials and Structures Technologies, (12 December 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.505801
Show Author Affiliations
Mark J. O'Neill, ENTECH, Inc. (United States)
Michael F. Piszczor, NASA Glenn Research Ctr. (United States)
Michael I. Eskenazi, ABLE Engineering Co. (United States)
A. J. McDanal, ENTECH, Inc. (United States)
Patrick J. George, NASA Glenn Research Ctr. (United States)
Matthew M. Botke, ABLE Engineering Co. (United States)
Henry W. Brandhorst, Auburn Univ. (United States)
David L. Edwards, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
David T. Hoppe, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5179:
Optical Materials and Structures Technologies
William A. Goodman, Editor(s)

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