Gradium glass is the only material that can precisely "steer" light internally, collect and concentrate energy, separate wavelengths of high-speed data and be manufactured cost-effectively in all sizes and volumes.
A solar concentrator based on Gradium lenses will capture, funnel and concentrate sunlight. Concentrating the light increases the ability of onboard photovoltaic (PV) cells to convert sunlight into electricity to power the satellite. Additionally, the unprecedented ability of Gradium lenses to provide a wide field of view reduces the need for the satellite to expend precious fuel to continually "re-point" the PV cells to the Sun.
Current state-of-the-art space satellites generally use flat solar panels to capture sunlight but do not employ lenses to concentrate the light. The current Gradium product shipment is for one of the first solar PV concentrator systems for space satellites.
The federal government project is through the prime contractor, United Innovations Division of DR Technologies, a San Diego-based, privately held research and development firm. The goal of the public/private program is to expand government and commercial satellite payload capacity for telecommunications (including voice and video), data communications and remote sensing.
By virtue of the unprecedented light-navigating capabilities of LightPath’s patented Gradium glass, and its recent availability in the lighter weight "Titania" glass family, a Gradium concentrator offers these key advantages for the space satellite industry:
LightPath received a $280,000 contract in 1997 to develop the Gradium concentrator lenses shipped this month. DR is using these lenses to build a working solar module which DR and the federal government will field test on the ground. The next step is introduction of the modules to the commercial sector.
Air Force Encourages Rapid Technology Transfer to Commercial Satellite Industry
Said Mr. Ralph James, Space Power Group Leader at the Space Vehicles Directorate of the US Air Force Research Laboratory, "After the concentrators perform in the upcoming field tests as we expect them to, our technical staff will work with commercial satellite manufacturers to ensure their knowledge of the capabilities and availability of Gradium concentrators for the next generation of satellites."
"We’re pleased by the confidence expressed by the technical monitors, and other members of the space community, in the ability of the Gradium products to advance solar energy efficiency in space satellites," said Donald E. Lawson, LightPath's President and Chief Operating Officer.
Leslie Ann Danziger, LightPath's Chairwoman and CEO added, "Beyond the near-term benefits for the earth-orbit commercial satellite industry, Gradium concentrators also have the potential to enhance ‘deep-space,’ interplanetary solar power technology. In addition, we believe our concentrator lens technology is transferable to, and can improve, terrestrial solar energy, an industry in which LightPath has its roots."
LightPath Technologies, Inc. manufactures Gradium glass products at its headquarters in Albuquerque. The Company has 14 patents associated with the process to manufacture Gradium glass and currently has 11 additional patents pending.