Over the course of the PULSE-COM project, prototypes of different devices based on the photo-piezo layered system are being created. In order to perform characterization and benchmarks, several test benches are being developed. One of them is the solar simulator operated in CBRTP. This device, equipped with a xenon arc lamp, produces white illumination commonly used to mimic sunlight. For this purpose, additional filters are used to reproduce the real spectrum of solar illumination. The simulator operates within the so-called Standard Test Conditions (STC) which standardized test parameters: irradiance at 1 kilowatt per square meter, spectral match to Air Mass 1.5 (AM1.5), and temperature of 25°C. This set of parameters is typical for testing solar cells and modules in the photovoltaic industry. Nevertheless, it can be applied to any photo-active system, including the photo-piezo actuator developed in PULSE-COM.
Sun simulator modified by CBRTP
The test bench, created with solar cell testing in mind, is being adapted to allow for testing of the novel photo-piezo system. The photoactive polymer is being tested under solar irradiation to determine its mechanical properties, eg. the amount of deflection, shrinkage, as well as its stability. Of particular interest could be testing the resilience of the photo-polymer to prolonged illumination, in purpose for integration with the piezo component.
Initial tests of the photoactive polymer using the solar simulator have been carried out, although they were limited by large distances separating facilities where photo-polymers are being researched and developed (Naples, Italy), and the solar simulator test site (Warsaw, Poland).