Researchers at Duke University and Boston College have created what could become the perfect solution to solar energy. They have engineered a metamaterial that utilizes tiny geometric shapes to absorb both the electrical and magnetic properties of electromagnetic waves over a certain frequency range at a level that meets standards of scientific perfection. This results in the total absorption of light, turning it into heat, which can then create energy.
Willie J Padilla, lead researcher for the team at Boston College, says the metamaterial is designed to ensure that all the light hitting it is neither reflected nor transmitted, but instead is entirely turned to heat and absorbed. This works with light at only a very narrow frequency range, but is a big step forward – perhaps eventually even more so than the Russian “Star Battery.”
Metamaterials are designed in such a way that their physical components gain new properties that allow them to respond to radiation in “tailored” ways. This is the first metamaterial to demonstrate perfect absorption and because it is constructed of metallic elements, it can be used for a variety of applications for detecting and collecting light, one of which could eventually be the highly efficient generation of solar power.
Via DeviceDaily, RD Magazine, Boston College