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Let the sun shine in: Redirecting sunlight to urban alleyways
Date:4/14/2014

WASHINGTON, April 14In dense, urban centers around the world, many people live and work in dim and narrow streets surrounded by tall buildings that block sunlight. And as the global population continues to rise and buildings are jammed closer together, the darkness will only spread.

To alleviate the problem, Egyptian researchers have developed a corrugated, translucent panel that redirects sunlight onto narrow streets and alleyways. The panel is mounted on rooftops and hung over the edge at an angle, where it spreads sunlight onto the street below. The researchers describe their design in a paper published today in Energy Express, a supplement of The Optical Society's (OSA) open-access journal Optics Express.

"We expect the device to provide illumination to perform everyday tasks, and improve the quality of light and health conditions in dark areas," said Amr Safwat, a professor of electronics and communications engineering at Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt. These dimly lit areas specifically include narrow streets in developing countries, but Safwat said the new panel could be used in any country as a greener, cheaper, and more pleasant alternative to fluorescent and other artificial light.

While other commercially available window-like devices can redirect light, they are designed for shade and redirecting glare or for brightening a roomnot a narrow street. So the researchers decided to create their own design. They wanted a simple way to redistribute natural light without the need for a tracking device that follows the rising and setting sun.

What they came up with is a panel made of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), the same acrylic plastic of which Plexiglas is made. The bottom of the panel is smooth while the top is covered in ridges that are based on a sine wave, the mathema
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Contact: Angela Stark
astark@osa.org
202-416-1443
The Optical Society
Source:Eurekalert  

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