Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!
Solar Panels 2.0 - Have your computer power itself!
The new cells consist of massive arrays of nanoantennas, which can collect energy from light and other sources. The INL team discovered a way to mass produce these arrays on flexible sheets of plastic. The only crucial problem remaining unresolved is developing additional components to harvest the collected energy by transforming it to electricity.
The nanoantennas absorb a targeted wavelength range of mid-infrared rays. The Earth continuously emits these rays thanks to the solar energy that it absorbs during the day. This would allow for continuous solar panel operation, in theory. Traditional panels can only absorb visible light and thus are idle at night.
Gold was selected after testing it, manganese and copper's reactions to IR rays. After careful computer design, an antenna which could collect 92 percent of the energy from infrared rays was achieved in theoretical simulations.
--- Current cells only have an efficiency of around 20 percent, due to the inherent inefficiency of the chemical reactions used to harvest visible light.
I've excerpted a few parts. If I'm reading the article right, once the electrical issues are resolved (how do we convert that much AC power into DC?) your computer case could be lined with this stuff. The heat your computer generates would be absorbed and turned into electricity which would then power your computer. Laptops could have almost unlimited battery life.
Outside of that application, what other uses for this could there be? Could this be a major solution to energy problems? (It won't be a 100% solution, as the energy transfer rate is not perfect). How would you design a car to use this?