21 September 2011 New vistas in solar concentration with gradient-index optics
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Abstract
Certain classes of gradient-index lenses can achieve both perfect imaging and flux concentration at the fundamental limits. Although useful in microwave technology, eponymous Luneburg lenses have been viewed as esoteric idealizations for visible and near-infrared radiation due to the paucity of suitable materials and fabrication methods. We show that the classic Luneburg problem was constrained in subtle, implicit ways that can be relaxed. With the extra degrees of freedom, we demonstrate new gradient-index profiles that can accommodate both realistic, readily available materials and existing manufacturing technologies, while compromising neither perfect imaging nor maximum concentration (confirmed by raytrace simulation) - thereby opening new vistas for solar concentration and other visible and near-infrared applications. Specifically, the broader genres of solutions identified here permit a far smaller range of refractive indices than previously believed, with minimum required refractive index values well above unity, at arbitrary lens f-number, with less sensitivity to dispersion losses than conventional lenses.
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Panagiotis Kotsidas, Vijay Modi, Jeffrey M. Gordon, "New vistas in solar concentration with gradient-index optics", Proc. SPIE 8124, Nonimaging Optics: Efficient Design for Illumination and Solar Concentration VIII, 81240A (21 September 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.893066; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.893066
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KEYWORDS
GRIN lenses

Lenses

Refractive index

Manufacturing

Gradient-index optics

Spherical lenses

Solar concentrators

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