Optics for Energy Fall 2016


Objectives: In this class, we will study the exciting intersection of optics and the engineering challenges associated with generation, distribution and utilization of energy with the specific goal of generating novel ideas and  business plans for commercialization. Technically, we will cover the basics of non-imaging optics, which will allow us to apply these basics to the design of solar concentrators and other light collectors. We will also study the science and engineering of sunlight measurement, strategies of light management for solar cells, design of solar cookers, solar hot-water systems, day-lighting, resource recycling, etc.

Grading: There will be one mid-term quiz comprising 30% of the grade. The rest of the grade will be based upon team projects. There will be 4 team presentations (each constituting 10% of the grade). Finally, each team must complete a business-canvas analysis and business plan, which will together constitute 30% of the grade. Please note that the College of Engineering policies are available here.

Class meets in WEB 1450 Tuesdays & Thursdays 12:25pm-1:45pm. Note that many of the lectures will be conducted remotely, which means that you can watch the lectures online. Please see schedule below for details. 

Office Hours will be by email appointment.

Textbook: There is no single textbook that covers the concepts covered in this course. Therefore, the instructor will provide notes & other resources.

Tenative Schedule:

08/23 Overview of course.  Lecture notes (PDF). Solar Cooker Basics.

08/25 Introduction to project topics.  Lecture notes (PDF). Water pasteurization Basics. Solar-water desalination: MIT Review, Wiki, MIT solar desalination article 1, article 2.  Solar refrigeration: Scientific AmericanWiki. Daylighting Wiki, Hybrid systems: Renewable Energy WorldDaylighting.

08/31 Solar Radiation: The basics. Lecture notes (PDF). Resources on basic principles. [Remote class] Classroom changed to WEB 2470 at 12:25pm. Note date changed to 08/31, Wednesday. 

09/01 Basic Thermodynamics. Lecture notes (PDF).  Wiki on heat engines. Basic Thermodynamics from Khan Academy here[Remote class] Project teams & topics assigned (see PDF). This lecture will start at 1:10pm and end at ~2:10pm.  Classroom is not changed: WEB 1450.

09/06 Introduction to geometrical optics.  Lecture notes (PDF). Waves & Optics from Khan Academy here[Guest lecture: Apratim Majumder] 

09/08  Introduction to geometrical optics (contd.) [Guest lecture: Apratim Majumder] Useful online model here. Sample problems from class are here

09/13  Optical design for recycling. Lecture notes (PDF).  Article from OPN here. [Remote class] Teams meet with technical mentors this week. 

09/15  No class today. Please work on your assignment 1.

09/20  Fundamental concepts of non-imaging optics (part 1). Lecture notes (PDF). Ted Talk by Bill Gross.

09/22  [Assignment 1: Literature review presentations]. Instructions for Assignment 2 are here.

09/27  Fundamental concepts of non-imaging optics (part 2). [Remote class] 

09/29  Light tools optical design software tutorial. Overview of light-tools (PDF). Building a lighting model (PDF). Illumination tools (PDF). [Guest lecture: Ganghun Kim] 

10/04  Mid-term review (PDF). [TA lecture]

10/06  Mid-term Exam [TA proctored]

10/11, 10/13 Fall Break

10/18  Radiometry, Photometry. Lecture notes (PDF). Basic video explanation here. LED streetlights are giving neighborhoods the blues article[Remote class] Teams meet with technical mentors this week.

10/20 Technology Commercialization (Guest lecture: Natan Chetrit, TVC UofU). Lecture notes (PDF). 

10/25  Business Model Canvas. Please watch Lectures 0 and 1 on Udacity before class here. Also see Steve Blank’s website here. Printable canvas is available here. A very useful podcast for entrepreneurs is TWIST

10/27 [Assignment 2: Team innovation presentations]

11/01 Statistical Ray Optics.  Paper (PDF). Lecture notes (PDF). [Remote class] Teams meet with commercialization mentors this week.

11/03 Review of solar cells [Guest lecture: Dennis Pruzan]. Lecture notes (PDF). Optional: Lassonde  Center seed fund applications due. Details here.

11/08 Light trapping for photovoltaics [Guest lecture by Dr. James Nagel] Lecture notes (PDF). Teams meet with technical mentors this week.

11/10 Light extraction for LEDs [Guest lecture by Dr. James Nagel] Lecture notes (PDF).

11/15 Anti-reflection coatings. Lecture notes (PDF). Teams meet with commercialization mentors this week or next (Thanksgiving).

11/17 [Assignment 3: Build-out / analysis presentations] Assignment 3 instructions are here: PDF

11/22 No class today. Please work on your business canvas. 

11/24 Thanksgiving break

11/29  Spectrum-splitting. Lecture notes (PDF). [Guest Lecture: Nabil Mohammad] Teams meet with commercialization mentors this week.

12/01 Measurement of photovoltaics. Lecture notes (PDF). 

12/06 Luminescent concentrators. Lecture notes (PDF). Interesting article on LSCs here 

12/08 [Assignment 4: Business Plan / Commercialization presentations] Instructions are here (PDF). 

[Final Assignment: Final business canvas and business plan are due on Friday, Dec. 9] Resources available at Clean Tech Open & SteveBlank.com