Using an infrared photodiode pointed to the sky, a new device harvests energy from the temperature difference between Earth and near absolute zero temperatures of deep space.
The obvious drawback of solar panels is that they require sunlight to generate electricity. Some have observed that for a device on Earth facing space, which has a frigid temperature, the chilling outflow of energy from the device can be harvested using the same kind of optoelectronic physics we have used to harness solar energy. New work, in a recent issue of Applied Physics Letters, from AIP Publishing, looks to provide a potential path to generating electricity like solar cells but that can power electronics at night.
An international team of scientists has demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to generate a measurable amount of electricity in a diode directly from the coldness of the universe. The infrared semiconductor device faces the sky and uses the temperature difference between Earth and space to produce the electricity.
“The vastness of the universe is a thermodynamic resource,” said Shanhui Fan, an author on the paper. “In terms of optoelectronic physics, there is really this very beautiful symmetry between harvesting incoming radiation and harvesting outgoing radiation.”
In contrast to leveraging incoming energy as a normal solar cell would, the negative illumination effect allows electrical energy to be harvested as heat leaves a surface. Today’s technology, though, does not capture energy over these negative temperature differences as efficiently.
By pointing their device toward space, whose temperature approaches mere degrees from absolute zero, the group was able to find a great enough temperature difference to generate power through an early design.
“The amount of power that we can generate with this experiment, at the moment, is far below what the theoretical limit is,” said Masashi Ono, another author on the paper.
The group found that their negative illumination diode generated about 64 nanowatts per square meter, a tiny amount of electricity, but an important proof of concept, that the authors can improve on by enhancing the quantum optoelectronic properties of the materials they use.
Calculations made after the diode created electricity showed that, when atmospheric effects are taken into consideration, the current device can theoretically generate almost 4 watts per square meter, roughly one million times what the group’s device generated and enough to help power machinery that is required to run at night.
By comparison, today’s solar panels generate 100 to 200 watts per square meter.
While the results show promise for ground-based devices directed to the sky, Fan said the same principle could be used to recover waste heat from machines. For now, he and his group are focusing on improving their device’s performance.
The Latest on: Infrared semiconductor device
via Google News
The Latest on: Infrared semiconductor device
- New microscopy under ambient achieves less than 10 nm spatial resolution on surface potential measurementon June 24, 2020 at 9:58 am
Due to the increasingly smaller size of semiconductor devices, PF-KPFM may be especially helpful for ... imaging at the nanoscale with 10 nm spatial resolution. They employ two infrared nanoscale ...
- Lasers can Redefine Bio-Imaging and Quantum Communicationon June 24, 2020 at 8:05 am
A research team has applied an infrared laser technique to cool a solid semiconductor. As demonstrated by the researchers in a study published in Nature Communications on June 23rd, 2020, an infrared ...
- Solid semiconductor sensor cooled with laseron June 24, 2020 at 5:54 am
Using an infrared laser, they were able to reduce the temperature of the semiconductor far below room temperature ... “Historically, the laser heating of nanoscale devices was a major problem that was ...
- Laser allows solid-state refrigeration of a semiconductor materialon June 23, 2020 at 1:36 pm
But that laser also heats the cantilever, which dampens its performance. "Historically, the laser heating of nanoscale devices was a major problem that was swept under the rug," said senior author ...
- Laser Diode Market Research Report 2020 | Industry Size, Share, Trends & Forecast Till 2025on June 23, 2020 at 12:28 am
As per the latest research report by IMARC Group, titled "Laser Diode Market: Global Industry Trends, Share, Size, Growth, Opportunity and Forecast 2020-2025," the global laser diode market size ...
- IntelliEPI gearing up to tap demand for 5G deviceson June 23, 2020 at 12:17 am
Intelligent Epitaxy Technology (IntelliEPI), which supplies compound semiconductor epitaxial wafers, will complete installing new equipment and facilities and is gearing up to scale up its output to ...
- Infrared Camera Global Market Insights to 2026 - Featuring Lynred, FLIR System & L3 Technologies Among Otherson June 16, 2020 at 8:15 am
The "Infrared Camera Market by Technology and End Use: Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2019-2026" report has been added ...
- Outlook on the Worldwide Infrared Camera Industry to 2026 - Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecaston June 15, 2020 at 3:31 am
The "Infrared Camera Market by Technology and End Use: Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2019-2026" report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com's offering. According to this ...
via Bing News