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

tical function that describes everything from light to pendulums. The researchers used computer simulations to find the size and shape of the grooves that distribute the most amount of sunlight in a wide range of sun positions all year round, whether it's high or low in the sky. A sine-wave pattern is also easy to manufacture.

Using simulations of sunlight shining on an alleyway, the researchers found that their panels increased illumination by 200 percent and 400 percent in autumn and winter, respectively, when sunlight is most limited. They also tested a small prototype over a 0.4-meter-by-0.4-meter shaft that is 1.2-meters deep and found that it lit up the area as designed.

The next step, Safwat said, will be to build a full-scale model 10 times bigger to validate their calculations and to test it in a real alleyway. The team then plans to market and commercialize the panel. He estimates that a one-square-meter panel and a frame will cost between $70 and $100.

And that may be a small price to pay for the benefits of sunlight. The lack of sun in urban areas doesn't just make life gloomy; it can be harmful to your health, Safwat said.

"Research has shown that lack of natural lighting can cause severe physiological problems," such as serious mood changes, excessive sleeping, loss of energy and depression, Safwat said.

He also noted that using sunlight to illuminate historical placessuch as ancient alleyways in Egyptalso helps preserve the authenticity of the site, maintaining its cultural value and historical significance.


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Contact: Angela Stark
astark@osa.org
202-416-1443
The Optical Society
Source:Eurekalert  

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