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Rapid Solar Mirror Characterization with Fringe Reflection Techniques

SOFAST: Sandia Optical Fringe Analysis Slope Tool

Sandia National Laboratories

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PDF Document PublicationMarket Sheet (834 KB)

SOFAST Imaging
SOFAST Imaging

Technology Marketing Summary

This technology is an automated system in which the reflection of a mirror, typically for solar applications, is characterized by the slope and slope errors. The system uses a video camera and a PC to create fringe patterns from the reflection of the mirror. These patterns can characterize and better assess the quality of the mirrors for solar applications in a more automated process.


The integration of a screen (such as a TV), computer, and camera allow for real time control and processing while also possessing auto-alignment algorithms embedded into the software which can accurately determine the true position of the facets. Additionally, data can be compared to various standards which gives insights into the character of mirror errors. This system will be an asset for production line characterization for solar mirrors systems while also easily able to extend to other dish, trough, heliostats for tower systems, and rapid automated alignment system for dish systems.

  • Automated process
  • Rapid characterization of mirrors
  • Quality control in manufacturing
  • Ability to extend to other types of relevant systems
  • Higher efficiency for production of a valuable renewable energy source
Applications and Industries
  • Electric utility
  • Transportation/automotive
  • Solar Energy
Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 8,674,280
Concentration solar power optimization system and method of using same
A system and method for optimizing at least one mirror of at least one CSP system is provided. The system has a screen for displaying light patterns for reflection by the mirror, a camera for receiving a reflection of the light patterns from the mirror, and a solar characterization tool. The solar characterization tool has a characterizing unit for determining at least one mirror parameter of the mirror based on an initial position of the camera and the screen, and a refinement unit for refining the determined parameter(s) based on an adjusted position of the camera and screen whereby the mirror is characterized. The system may also be provided with a solar alignment tool for comparing at least one mirror parameter of the mirror to a design geometry whereby an alignment error is defined, and at least one alignment unit for adjusting the mirror to reduce the alignment error.
Sandia National Laboratories 03/18/2014
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
SD #11313Prototype - Sandia estimates this technology’s TRL at approximately a level 6/7. Prototypes have been tested and shown to work in an operational laboratory environment which includes the integration and demonstration of the components.Available - Various license and partnering options are available. Please contact the Intellectual Property department to discuss.04/09/201010/31/2016

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