Abstract

Measurements are reported of the irradiance produced by a two-stage solar concentrator designed to approach the thermodynamic limit. Sunlight is collected by a 40.6-cm diam parabolic primary which forms a 0.98-cm diam image. The image is reconcentrated by a nonimaging refracting secondary with index n = 1.53 to a final aperture 1.27 mm in diameter. Thus the geometrical concentration ratio is 102,000. The highest irradiance value achieved was 4.4 ± 0.2 kW cm−2, or 56,000 ± 5000 suns, relative to a solar disk insolation of 800 W m−2. This is greater than the previous peak solar irradiance record by nearly a factor of 3, and it is 68% of that existing at the solar surface itself. The efficiency with which we concentrated 55 W of sunlight to a small spot suggests that our two-stage system would be an excellent candidate for solar pumping of solid state lasers.

© 1988 Optical Society of America

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