Case 14333

Discretely Actuated Solar Mirrors


Solar mirror, Binary actuation, Active optics, Tracking


Thermal solar energy collectors

  • Sensitivity of conventional solar mirrors to disturbances such as thermal gradients
  • High costs of manufacturing precision mirrors and tracking systems


The invention provides a new approach to correct manufacturing imperfections and shape deformations for solar concentrators. In this approach, binary actuators are embedded in a compliant mirror substructure. Actuators are deployed in a specified pattern to correct the mirror shape. The precision of the binary actuated system is determined by location and number of actuators. As the number of actuators in a system increases, the precision of the device approaches a conventional continuous system.

  • Improve solar mirror system robustness and performance
  • Decrease manufacturing costs

  • Professor Steven Dubowsky (Department of Mechanical Engineering and Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, MIT)
  • Seung Jae Lee (Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, MIT)
  • Amy Marlou Bilton (Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, MIT)

Intellectual Property:

US Patent Application Number 12/839479, filed on July 20, 2010


S. Lee, A. Bilton, and S. Dubowsky β€œOn the Kinematics of Solar Mirrors using Massively Parallel Binary Actuation.” Proceedings of the ASME 2010 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, August 15‐18, 2010.

Last revised: April 30, 2013

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