The challenge

In Isaac Newton's prism two sides of a prism are active to refract the light, once when it enters and twice when it leaves the prism. Each refraction is accompanied by spectral splitting, therefore a prism seems to be completely unsuited for the concentration of solar radiation. Can a prism be used to concentrate the sunlight exactly on a focal line?

The invention

The RES-Prism uses all three sides to guide solar radiation. The prism therefore reveals new optical features. While one solar ray is refracted and splitted at the first side of the prism, the split up bundle will be totally reflected at the second side to get reunited again to one ray at the third side of the prism. Single axis tracking presumed, the prism becomes a means to precisely concentrate solar radiation on a focal line independent of the angle of incidence.

The advantages

  • Provision of a prism as solar concentrator
  • Combination of a multitude of prisms in a solar module for up to 100-fold solar concentration with only single axis tracking
  • Provision of a transparent linear focussing optical system

The applications

  • Design of a lighthouse tower collector with prism modules in a vertical order
  • Design of a solar plant with prism modules in a horizontal order
  • Design of urban solar lights
  • Transparent sun protection for buildings
  • Combination of sunshading and energy generation
  • Integration of the prisms in a tube collector