Ambient Photonics Inc. Solar Cell & The Future Of The Ambient Photonics Industry

Published on 24 January 2024 at 22:33

 Ambient Photonics Inc: Pioneering a Photonic Revolution in Solar 

Ambient Photonics Inc. has developed an innovative solar technology that leverages photonic nanoengineering to achieve unprecedented efficiency and light harvesting capabilities. Their ambient photonic solar cells use meticulously designed photonic crystals to manipulate sunlight at the nanoscale. This photonic solar technology could catalyze a new generation of highly efficient, omni-directional solar cells.


Technology Details

- Photonic crystals: The key innovation is the use of photonic crystals - materials engineered with periodic nanoscale structures that can controls light waves and photons. 

- Light trapping and bending: The photonic crystals in Ambient's cells are designed to bend and trap sunlight.

- Efficiency: By mitigating losses, Ambient's photonic technique achieves record conversion efficiency over 33% in lab testing, substantially beyond typical PV cell efficiency ceilings.

- Ambient light harvesting: Additional photonic crystal structures enable Ambient's cells to harvest diffuse ambient light from all angles, transforming the available light spectrum.

- Self-charging capacity: With ambient light harvesting, Ambient's solar cells can charge devices or generate electricity 24/7, even indoors.


Industry Impact 

- Next-gen solar infrastructure: Ambient's photonic solar technology could enable transformative solar applications.

- Pushing efficiency boundaries: The efficiency benchmarks achieved by Ambient's cells raise the bar for solar performance, driving innovation across the PV industry.

- Commercial viability: With over $90 million in capital raised, Ambient is pushing to commercialize and manufacture its disruptive solar technology at scale.


The Bottom Line

Ambient Photonics' groundbreaking photonic engineering for solar cells could unlock unprecedented efficiency and 24/7 light harvesting capabilities. Their photonic solar innovation may light the way for transformative advances across solar infrastructure.


Ambient Photonics Innovations - Industry Report 2024 


Executive Summary

Ambient photonics refers to the capture and use of ambient light in the surrounding environment for applications such as imaging, illumination, communications, and energy harvesting. It is an emerging field that has seen rapid innovation and adoption in recent years due to advancements in materials science, nanotechnology, and imaging techniques. 


This Informative Solar report provides an overview of the current state of ambient photonics, key innovations and technologies, major players and applications across industries, and future outlook for the field. Some of the key highlights include:


- Growth in ambient light imaging and sensing driven by innovations in metamaterials, computational imaging, and AI/ML techniques. Applications across defense, aerospace, automotive, and healthcare industries.

- Adoption of ambient light communications for Internet of Things and connected devices. Enables communication between devices without RF or dedicated power sources. 

- Advancements in transparent and flexible solar harvesting materials and technologies. Integration into displays, windows, fabrics, and building materials. 

- Increasing use of ambient photonics innovations in areas such as augmented/virtual reality, robotics, and advanced manufacturing. Emergence of new startups focused on specialized applications.

- Market forecast to grow at 24% CAGR over 2022-2027. Driven by rising adoption across industries and continuing research and investment into new materials and techniques.


Current Innovations and Technologies

Ambient photonics; leverages recent advances in metamaterials, nanophotonics, and computational imaging to capture and utilize ambient light in novel ways. Some key innovations include:


Metamaterials - Materials engineered at the nanoscale to interact with light in unconventional ways. Allow manipulation of propagation, absorption, and emission of light. Enable ultra-thin imaging systems, sensors, and adaptive optics.


Nanophotonics - Use of nanomaterials for light capture, manipulation, and emission on the nanoscale. Includes quantum dots, nanopillars, carbon nanotubes, etc. Allows miniaturized and efficient photonic devices.


Computational imaging - Use of computational algorithms and AI/ML techniques to enhance and extract information from imaging under ambient light conditions. Makes imaging systems more portable and autonomous. 


Fluorescent concentrators - Materials that absorb ambient light and re-emit it at specific wavelengths. Used to concentrate diffuse ambient light for solar energy generation.


Adaptive optics - Dynamic optical elements enabled by metamaterials to counteract distortions and aberrations in ambient light conditions. Used in high-resolution imaging and beam steering.


Major Players and Industry Applications


Defense and Aerospace:

- Ambient light stealth technology for reducing detectability of aircraft, ships, and ground vehicles. Being developed by BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin.

- Compact computational imaging systems for ISR missions and situational awareness. Commercialized by Anduril, WaveOptics.

- Adaptive optics and wavefront control systems for space telescopes and laser communication. Led by NASA, Northrop Grumman.



- Automotive vision systems using ambient light for object detection and depth perception. Ambarella, ON Semiconductor, and UCLA startup VAYAVISION key players.

- Nano-optic films, transparent displays, and ambient light communications for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure connectivity. Pioneered by Toyota and NTT.


Healthcare and wearables: 

- Quanta Image labs developing ambient light vitals and cardiopulmonary monitoring through transparent patches. 

- uHear using ambient light true wireless earbuds for non-invasive glucose level monitoring. 

- Ambient light sensors embedded into smart contact lenses for continuous tear glucose and intraocular pressure monitoring in development by Google X, Novartis.


Consumer electronics:

- Ambient light imaging and sensing across smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Leaders include Sony, Microsoft, Ambient Photonics Inc, and Google.

- Transparent solar charging films and displays. Developed by Solliance, a consortium including TDK, IMRC, Arkema.

- R&D into using ambient light for indoor positioning (Apple), gesture control (Google), and wireless communications (PureLiFi).


Future Outlook

The ambient photonics industry is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 24% from 2022-2027, exceeding $8 billion in global market revenue by 2027. Key factors driving adoption across industries include:

- Continuing innovation and acceptance of metamaterials, nanophotonics, and computational imaging.

- Integration with artificial intelligence/machine learning and cloud analytics for smarter ambient light applications.

- Advances in transparent and flexible electronic materials design and fabrication.

- Growing demand for more compact, low power, and autonomous imaging and sensing capabilities.

- Rising investment and research funding from governments and corporations to develop real-world applications.


In summary, the future outlook for ambient photonics looks highly promising. With the convergence of materials science, device fabrication, AI/ML, and system integration, ambient light could become a ubiquitous sensing and illumination medium for the Internet of Things and smart environments. It holds disruptive potential across many industries including defense, aerospace, healthcare, automotive, and consumer electronics. More R&D is needed to further mature the core technologies and transition them from lab to market via partnerships between researchers, established companies, and startups. If the remaining technical challenges can be overcome, ambient photonics could emerge as a key platform technology enabling the ambient intelligence vision of the future.


-Informative Solar


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