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 exam comprising 20% of the grade. The rest of the grade will be based upon team projects. There will be 4 team presentations (15% each). Finally, each team must complete a business-canvas analysis and commercialization plan, which will together constitute the remaining 20% of the grade. The teams will be assigned commercialization mentors and will be expected to meet with them as per the schedule below. Explicit instructions for all assignments and presentations will be provided in class. 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. 

Online students: The online students will follow the same schedule as below, and all lecture recordings will posted here and on canvas. Grading for online students will be based on 4 presentations (which will be submitted as short videos, 20% each), and a final business-canvas analysis and commercialization plan, which will together constitute the remaining 20% of the grade. Explicit instructions for all assignments and presentations will be provided in class. Note that online students will work in small remote teams (or individually) to complete all assignments.

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 lecture] Project teams & topics assigned.

09/04 Introduction to geometrical optics.  Waves & Optics from Khan Academy here. [Guest lecture: Dr. Apratim Majumder]

09/06  Introduction to geometrical optics (contd.)  Useful online model here. Sample problems from class are here. [Guest lecture: Dr. Apratim Majumder]

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 lecture] 

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

09/25  Optical Ray-tracing software tutorial. [Guest lecture: Dr. Apratim Majumder]  [Note STEM Career Fair is today! Use your assignment 1 as a showcase with your resume.]

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). 

10/18 [Assignment 2: Team innovation presentations]

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

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 from TVC].  

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 commercialization mentors this week.

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

12/04 Luminescent concentrators. 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