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SOFAST: Sandia Optical Fringe Analysis Slope Tool for Solar Mirror Characterization

Technology Summary

This technology is an automated system in which the reflection of a mirror, typically for solar applications, is characterized by the slope and slope errors. The system uses a video camera and a PC to create fringe patterns from the reflection of the mirror. These patterns can characterize and better assess the quality of the mirrors for solar applications in a more automated process.


The integration of a screen (such as a TV), computer, and camera allow for real time control and processing while also possessing auto-alignment algorithms embedded into the software which can accurately determine the true position of the facets. Additionally, data can be compared to various standards which gives insights into the character of mirror errors. This system will be an asset for production line characterization for solar mirrors systems while also easily able to extend to other dish, trough, heliostats for tower systems, and rapid automated alignment system for dish systems.


  • Automated process
  • Rapid characterization of mirrors
  • Quality control in manufacturing
  • Ability to extend to other types of relevant systems
  • Higher efficiency for production of a valuable renewable energy source

Applications and Industries

  • Electric utility
  • Transportation/automotive
  • Solar Energy

Intellectual Property

ID Number
Patent Number
Concentration solar power optimization system and method of using same 11313.0 8,674,280 03/18/2014
Technology IDSD#11313Development StagePrototype - Sandia estimates this technology at a Technology Readiness Level 6/7. Prototypes have been tested and shown to work in an operational laboratory environment which includes the integration and demonstration of the components.AvailabilityAvailable - Various licensing and partnering options are available. Please contact the Intellectual Property department to discuss.Published09/29/2011Last Updated02/05/2016