Optics for Energy Fall 2018

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:

08/21 Overview of course.  Solar Cooker Basics.

08/23 Introduction to project topics.  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.

08/28 Solar Radiation: The basics.  Resources on basic principles. [Remote class]

08/30 Basic Thermodynamics.Wiki on heat engines. Basic Thermodynamics from Khan Academy here. [Remote class] Project teams & topics assigned.

09/04 Introduction to geometrical optics.  Waves & Optics from Khan Academy here.

09/06  Introduction to geometrical optics (contd.)  Useful online model here. Sample problems from class are here

09/11  Fundamental concepts of non-imaging optics (part 1).  Ted Talk by Bill Gross.

09/13  [Assignment 1: Literature review presentations]. Instructions for Assignment 2 are here.

09/18 Fundamental concepts of non-imaging optics (part 2). [Remote class] 

09/20  Radiometry, Photometry. Basic video explanation here. LED streetlights are giving neighborhoods the blues article. [Remote class]

09/25  Light tools optical design software tutorial. Overview of light-tools (PDF). Building a lighting model (PDF). Illumination tools (PDF)Teams meet with technical mentors this week. 

09/27 Mid-term review (PDF). [TA lecture]. 

10/02 No class. Prepare for mid-term & assignment 2. 

10/04  Mid-term Exam [TA proctored]

10/9, 10/11 Fall Break


10/16 Statistical Ray Optics. Paper (PDF). Teams meet with technical mentors this week.

10/18 [Assignment 2: Team innovation presentations]

10/23 Optical design for recycling. Article from OPN here. [Remote class] 

10/25 Anti-reflection coatings. Lecture notes (PDF). [Remote lecture]

10/30 Measurement of photovoltaics. [Remote lecture]

11/01 Spectrum-splitting. [Remote lecture]

11/06 Review of solar cells [Guest lecture].

11/08 Technology Commercialization [Guest lecture].  

11/13  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.  Teams meet with commercialization mentors this week.

11/15 [Assignment 3: Build-out / analysis presentations] 

11/20 No class. Prepare for assignment 4 & final report. 

11/22 Thanksgiving break

11/27 Light trapping for photovoltaics [Guest lecture by Dr. James Nagel] Teams meet with technical mentors this week.

11/29 Light extraction for LEDs [Guest lecture by Dr. James Nagel]

12/04 Luminescent concentrators (might be covered earlier). Interesting article on LSCs here.  

12/06 [Assignment 4: Business Plan / Commercialization presentations] Instructions are here (PDF). 

[Final Assignment: Final business canvas and business plan are due on Friday, Dec. 7] Resources available at Clean Tech Open & SteveBlank.com

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