Subwavelength Antireflection For Space Applications
Podmore, Hugh Dennis
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In this research the potential for CubeSat power-budget enhancement through the application of bio-mimetic subwavelength antireflective nanostructures to solar cell coverglass is investigated. Antireflective nanostructures derived from the eyes of moths are simulated using effective medium theory and rigorous coupled wave analysis in order to determine the impact of subwavelength antireflection (SWAR) on CubeSat power budgets. An optimized SWAR structure for CubeSat applications using commercially available triple junction solar cells is designed, and design rules for the space environment are presented. SWAR structures were fabricated on quartz and a novel single-step fabrication process was developed which was shown to produce structures close to the optimized design. The impact of SWAR structures on solar-cell power production at incidence angles from 0° to 85° was demonstrated experimentally using a purpose-built solar simulator environment. Solar-angle simulations for CubeSats in a variety of attitudes and orbits were carried out using experimentally determined values for solar cell power production and it was determined that SWAR-enhancement may increase CubeSat power production by as much as 10%.