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Applications of non-imaging micro-optic systems

  • Author(s): Baker, Katherine Anne
  • et al.

While imaging optics necessarily transmit a clear image of an object, non-imaging optics manipulate light in many different ways. Two important applications are illumination and concentration. In this thesis, I cover an application in each of these areas involving small-scale optics. Extremely low birth weight infants typically require intubation, but existing laryngoscopes for viewing the airway are not suited to this population. Small commercial cameras can fit within the required geometry, but need high illumination with low heating. Repurposing the mechanical structure of the laryngoscope as a waveguide for an LED source meets both these requirements. Concentrator photovoltaic systems accept sunlight over a large aperture and focus it to a proportionally small photovoltaic cell. This kind of configuration allows the cost of expensive but highly efficient multijunction cells to be amortized over a large area module, resulting in cost-effective, high efficiency systems. A prior design from our lab uses a lenslet array and mirrored micro- prisms to concentrate sunlight within a glass waveguide. This enables high efficiency concentration with a compact form factor compatible with mass fabrication and eliminating problems associated with discrete PV cells. I first adapt the basic planar concentrator design for specific applications. One-dimensional polar tracking is an attractive design space, and either passive optical tracking or mechanical micro-tracking can be used to adapt the concentrator for this framework. The concentrator can also be used in solar thermal rather than photovoltaic applications with the addition of an output coupler. I also address a completely different approach to concentrator tracking. This non-imaging system is nonlinear, implementing a reactive cladding layer to enable the system to self-track the sun. I present design studies to quantify the requirements of such a material, then present a candidate materials system to meet these requirements: high index particle concentration through optically-induced dielectrophoresis. Experimental results demonstrate the plausibility of the approach. Finally, I investigate the use of a conformal cladding to simplify fabrication and potentially improve performance. Experimental results using silica aerogel successfully demonstrate a low-index, conformal coating, but a metallic coating on top has low reflectivity

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