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Optical Properties of Thin Film Molecular MixturesThin films composed of molecular mixtures of metal and dielectric are being considered for use as solar selective coatings for a variety of space power applications. By controlling the degree of molecular mixing, the solar selective coatings can be tailored to have the combined properties of high solar absorptance, , and low infrared emittance, . On orbit, these combined properties would simultaneously maximize the amount of solar energy captured by the coating and minimize the amount of thermal energy radiated. Mini-satellites equipped with solar collectors coated with these cermet coatings may utilize the captured heat energy to power a heat engine to generate electricity, or to power a thermal bus that directs heat to remote regions of the spacecraft. Early work in this area identified the theoretical boundary conditions needed to operate a Carnot cycle in space, including the need for a solar concentrator, a solar selective coating at the heat inlet of the engine, and a radiator.1 A solar concentrator that can concentrate sunlight by a factor of 100 is ideal. At lower values, the temperature of the solar absorbing surface becomes too low for efficient heat engine operation, and at higher values, cavity type heat receivers become attractive. In designing the solar selective coating, the wavelength region yielding high solar absorptance must be separated from the wavelength region yielding low infrared emittance by establishing a sharp transition in optical properties. In particular, a sharp transition in reflectance is desired in the infrared to achieve the desired optical performance. For a heat engine operating at 450 C, a sharp transition at 1.8 micrometers is desired.2 The radiator completes the heat flow through the Carnot cycle.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Jaworske, Donald A.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Shumway, Dean A.
(Brigham Young Univ. Rexburg, ID, United States)
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
November 1, 2003
Publication Information
Publication: 5th Conference on Aerospace Materials, Processes, and Environmental Technology
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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