Major Energy Discovery
From EarthTechling's Caleb Denison:
Researchers at the University of Michigan have made a scientific discovery that is intriguing all on its own but it is the breakthrough's potential applications in solar power generation that have them excited.
According to Stephen Rand, a professor at the university and author of the paper that discusses his team's discovery in the "Journal of Applied Physics", the researchers found a way to make an "optical battery" which harnesses the magnetic attributes in light that, until now, scientists didn't think amounted to much of anything.
The report explains that light has both electric and magnetic components but, until now, scientists believed the magnetic field effects were weak enough that they could be ignored. Rand and his fellow researchers, however, found that at the right intensity, when light is traveling through a material that does not conduct electricity, the light field can generate magnetic effects that are 100 million times stronger than thought possible. Under these circumstances, says Rand, the magnetic fields become similar in strength to a strong electric effect.
William Fisher, a doctoral student in applied physics, says that what makes this possible is "a previously undetected brand of "optical rectification." In traditional optical rectification, light's electric field causes positive and negative charges to be pulled apart in a material. That sets up voltage, similar to a battery.
Before, this effect had only been observed in crystalline materials that possessed a certain symmetry. This process works with materials such as glass, but presently requires light that surpasses the sun's natural intensity. Fisher indicated they were working on finding materials that would work at lower light intensity.
The research team believes that this discovery could lead to a solar cell that requires no semi-conductor. Since semi-conductors constitute a bulk of a solar cell's processing, eliminating it represents an opportunity for a considerable reduction in costs. Click here to read more.
Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>
ATLANTA (AP) - Two nurses lost their licenses after a television station persuaded courts to unseal a video secretly recorded by the family of a man who died in their care. The video shows the World War II veteran repeatedly calling for help, saying he can't breathe. It also shows the nurses failing to take life-saving measures, and laughing as they try to start an oxygen machine.>>
Police say the girlfriend of a man shot Saturday night in north Spokane has been arrested on first degree assault charges. Officers were called to the 1600 block of E. Bismark Saturday night around 7 p.m. Responding officers found a man and woman inside an apartment. The man had been shot in the leg and the woman told police an intruder had come into their apartment and shot the victim in the leg, then took off.>>
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump says he should have left three UCLA basketball players accused of shoplifting in China in jail. Trump's tweet Sunday comes after the father of player LiAngelo Ball minimized Trump's involvement in winning the players' release during an interview Saturday with ESPN.>>
DEER PARK, Wash. - Police were investigating a two-car rollover crash near Highway 395 and Monroe in Deer Park Saturday evening. The crash happened around 4 p.m. Officers on scene say a gray pickup truck was T-boned by a white SUV near the intersection of Highway 395 and Monroe Road. The pickup truck rolled and landed on its top.>>
SPOKANE, Wash. - Friday marked two years since windstorm 2015 knocked down trees, caused massive damage and left thousands of people without power in and around Spokane. Just a few days later marks another historic weather-related anniversary in the region: Ice Storm 1996.>>
FRANKFURT, Germany - It's a situation we've all been in: You're doing a little pre-Black Friday shopping at River Park Square, leave with an armful of purchases and can't remember where you parked in the garage. But for one Frankfurt man, the situation was taken to the extreme, when he discovered his missing car 20 years after he parked it in an industrial building's garage.>>