Postdoctoral associate Jae-Hee Han, left, graduate student Geraldine Paulus and associate professor Michael Strano built a fiber of carbon nanotubes that can concentrate solar energy (Image: Patrick Gillooly)
This filament containing about 30 million carbon nanotubes absorbs energy from the sun as photons and then re-emits photons of lower energy (Image: Geraldine Paulus)
The size and efficiency of current photovoltaic (PV) cells means most people would probably have to cover large areas of their rooftops with such cells to even come close to meeting all their electricity needs. Using carbon nanotubes, MIT chemical engineers have now found a way to concentrate solar energy 100 times more than a regular PV cell. Such nanotubes could form antennas that capture and focus light energy, potentially allowing much smaller and more powerful solar arrays.
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