Solar Thermal Energy


Dr. Arlon J. Hunt
Dr. Arlon J. Hunt


Professional Experience
Solar Publications


Senior physicist with over 40 years of experience in solar energy conversion, light scattering, processing of materials, instrumentation, and electro-optics.


Dr. Arlon J. Hunt


1971-1974     Ph.D. Physics, 1974, University of Arizona, 
1968-1971     MS Physics, 1971, University of Arizona
1959-1963     BA Physics, 1963, University of Minnesota
1957-1959     State University of New Mexico 

Senior Scientist, Environmental Energy Technologies Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 1976 to 2005.

Senior physicist with over 40 years of experience in solar energy conversion, light scattering, processing of materials, instrumentation, and electro-optics. Invented and developed a new class of solar receivers using particles as radiant absorbers for electricity generation, chemical reactors, thermochemical storage, and space propulsion and power systems. Installed, operated, and analyzed data from four automatic circumsolar telescopes to quantify the solar resource. Initiated projects to develop aerogels for high performance thermal insulation for DOE, new composite materials, space dust catchers for NASA, and solar collectors. Pioneered new applications of light scattering in biophysics and studied unicellular marine organisms to predict the optical properties of the ocean for ONR. Discovered new processes for supercritical drying of aerogel, thermodynamic engine cycles, nanophase composites, and methods to produce fine particles. Invented a variety of devices, including the polarization-modulated nephelometer, environmental and magnetic instrumentation, holograms for daylight control, and a novel wind electric generator.

Created and led the Microstructured Materials Group at LBNL. Established an international reputation as a researcher in solar thermal energy, light scattering, and aerogel development. Conceived and developed ideas from proposals to funded projects. Acting as a principal investigator directed scientists, engineers, students, and technicians on scores of diverse projects. Directed and supervised five Ph.D. students and many Master's theses at U. C. Berkeley. Established international collaborations in Germany, Switzerland, Israel, Sri Lanka, and Spain to carry out solar energy conversion research using small particles. Awarded a Senior Fulbright Fellowship to study industrial applications of solar thermal energy in Africa. Received the Technology Transfer Award from Federal Laboratory Consortium and Excellence Award from LBNL for the development and commercialization of aerogel. Won the Energy 100 Award for the development of the Diesel Particle Scatterometer as one of the 100 most significant scientific accomplishments in the history of DOE. Initiated and carried out a multinational project to build and test a solar receiver based on small particle absorption. Co-principle investigator on a current project to design a prototype Small Particle Heat Exchange Receiver at San Diego State University under the sponsorship of

Authored 14 patents and over 120 publications.

President, Particle Technology Associates, 1979 to 2005
Founded an independent consulting and research/development firm involved in advanced energy conversion devices instrumentation, and materials.

Member of the Board and Consultant, Thermalux, Inc., Richmond, California, 1986 to 2007
Co-founder and director of a company to commercialize the production of silica aerogel.

Senior Fulbright Research Scholar, Sub Saharan Africa, 1985
Proposed and carried out a research program to study the application of solar thermal energy to various industries in the developing countries of Kenya, Botswana, and Togo.

Post Doctoral Research Associate, University of Arizona, Optical Sciences Center, 1974 to 1976.
Performed experimental and theoretical studies of the electric field penetration into metals and detection of the resulting band structure perturbation by reflectance spectroscopy. Participated in the design, fabrication, and characterization of thin film selective coatings for solar thermal applications.

Research Associate/Teaching Assistant, University of Arizona, Physics Department, 1968 to 1974.
Invented and developed the polarization modulation nephelometer to measure the complete Mueller scattering matrix that was used to study the optical properties of ocean water, cancer studies, and virus identification. Thesis advisor: Donald Huffman, discoverer of solid C60.

Peace Corps Volunteer Teacher Ibrahim School, Sungei Patani, Malaysia, 1965 to 1968.
Taught first year University Physics courses.

Project Physicist, Stanford Research Institute, 1964 to 1965.
Directed a project to study shock-induced changes in alkali halide crystals to study their high pressure and temperature optical properties.

Assistant Research Physicist, Univac Corporation, St. Paul, Minnesota, 1959 to 1963.
Designed and built several instruments to measure the magnetic properties of thin magnetic films.

Cooperative Student-Instrumentation, White Sands Missile Range, 1957 to 1959.
Worked in the standards and instrumentation section and gained experience in instrumentation, electrical standards, shock and vibration standards, and missile telemetry.


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