Scientists have created a solar simulator that replicates the heat and light of the sun’s radiation.
Developed by researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), the system has a luminous flux equivalent to over 21,000 suns.
Above image: Alain Herzog/EPFL
Comprised of 18 light sources, can replicate the heat and light of the sun’s radiation with unparalleled precision and power. It will be used to test various materials in extreme temperature and heat conditions.
The system, which was developed in collaboration with the Australian National University and the company Kinoton Digital Solutions, was designed to produce the most intense light possible that can be adjusted precisely and does not create unnecessary heat, as that could damage the materials being tested. To achieve this, 18 light sources are placed in two concentric circles around a virtual half-sphere nearly two meters in diameter. Each of these lamps consists of a reflector – a sort of cup-shaped mirror – that is lit by a Xenon bulb. The light waves given off in all directions by the bulb are thus reflected and focused on a specific point. At the spot where the light beams from the different lamps meet, the maximum intensity reaches 21,700 suns (21.7 MW m-2). This is the spot where materials and devices can be tested.
Gaël Levêque, a scientist at LRESE, said:
“This is a method for the electrolytic deposition of metal, and it can replicate a model with unparalleled exactness. The precision of reflection is much better.”
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