Presentation Title

LED Solar Simulator

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Start Date

30-4-2021 12:00 AM

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Department

Engineering

Faculty Mentor

James Masi, PhD

Keywords

solar simulator, LED, photovoltaics, horticulture

Abstract

A solar simulator approximates the natural illumination provided by the sun. Solar simulators are necessary for many industries including photovoltaics, material testing, and horticulture. It is imperative for these industries to test how natural sunlight will interact with their product or design. Solar simulators allow for this testing to be performed in a controlled environment. This research focused on the horticulture industry, and in particular LED grow lights. LED technology provides many benefits including efficiency, low operating temperatures, and robust design. LED grow lights, however, can be costly and typically have a fixed light spectrum. This work aimed to design and assemble a low cost LED light module that can be tuned to a desired spectral output. Using a selection of LEDs of specific colors at varying intensities the desired light spectrum can be approximated. This allows for different lighting conditions to be simulated without changes in hardware. The implications of this research are far reaching. For instance, testing new crop varieties in varying lighting conditions, to mimic different growing regions, or developing grow lights which can be fine-tuned to provide the ideal spectrum for different plant varieties and stages of growth. Only four colors of LEDs were used, which limited the ability to accurately match the desired spectrum output. This limitation was due to the constraints of time and budget. The LEDs were chosen to maximize photosynthetic response. Further testing is necessary to determine the photosynthetic active radiation, spatial uniformity, and temporal stability of the unit.

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LED Solar Simulator - transcript

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Apr 30th, 12:00 AM

LED Solar Simulator

A solar simulator approximates the natural illumination provided by the sun. Solar simulators are necessary for many industries including photovoltaics, material testing, and horticulture. It is imperative for these industries to test how natural sunlight will interact with their product or design. Solar simulators allow for this testing to be performed in a controlled environment. This research focused on the horticulture industry, and in particular LED grow lights. LED technology provides many benefits including efficiency, low operating temperatures, and robust design. LED grow lights, however, can be costly and typically have a fixed light spectrum. This work aimed to design and assemble a low cost LED light module that can be tuned to a desired spectral output. Using a selection of LEDs of specific colors at varying intensities the desired light spectrum can be approximated. This allows for different lighting conditions to be simulated without changes in hardware. The implications of this research are far reaching. For instance, testing new crop varieties in varying lighting conditions, to mimic different growing regions, or developing grow lights which can be fine-tuned to provide the ideal spectrum for different plant varieties and stages of growth. Only four colors of LEDs were used, which limited the ability to accurately match the desired spectrum output. This limitation was due to the constraints of time and budget. The LEDs were chosen to maximize photosynthetic response. Further testing is necessary to determine the photosynthetic active radiation, spatial uniformity, and temporal stability of the unit.

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