Concentrated solar power (CSP) facilities heavily utilize parabolic troughs to collect and concentrate sunlight onto receivers that deliver solar thermal energy to heat engines for generating electricity. However, parabolic troughs are bulky and heavy and result in a large capital investment for CSP plants, thereby making it difficult for CSP technology to be competitive with photovoltaics. We present the design of a planar focusing collector (PFC) with focal length beyond the micron scale. The PFC design is based on the use of a nanostructured silver surface for linearly polarized singlewavelength light. The designed PFC consists of metallic nanogrooves on a dielectric substrate. The geometric properties, namely the width and depth, of a single-unit nanogroove allows for full control of the optical phase at desired spatial coordinates along the nanogroove short-axis for a single wavelength. Moreover, we show numerically that such phase control can be used to construct a phase front that mimics that of a cylindrical lens. In addition, we determine the concentration ratio by comparing the width of our PFC design to the cross-sectional width of its focal spot. We also determine the conversion efficiency at long focal lengths by evaluating the ratio of the collected optical power to the incoming optical power. Finally, we examine the focusing behavior across multiple wavelengths and angles of incidence. Our work shows how nano-optics and plasmonics could contribute to this important area of CSP technology.
Qing Ding, Aakash Choubal, and Kimani C. Toussaint, "Design of a nanopatterned long focal-length planar focusing collector for concentrated solar power," Proc. SPIE 10112, Photonic and Phononic Properties of Engineered Nanostructures VII, 101120O (Presented at SPIE OPTO: January 31, 2017; Published: 20 February 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2251538.
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