The thermalphotovoltaic device glows while converting solar energy to heat and re-emitting light to the solar cell
A closeup of the tiny thermal PV system, in which a carbon nanotube layer absorbs solar energy and heats the single layer of photonic crystals, which re-emits energy back at a optimal wavelength for the solar cell
It’s not a new idea to improve upon traditional solar cells by first converting light into heat, then reemitting the energy at specific wavelengths optimally tuned to the requirements of the solar cell, but this method has suffered from low efficiencies. However, new research at MIT using nanoscale materials finally shows how thermophotovoltaics could become competitive with their traditional cousins, and grant benefits such as storing solar energy in the form of heat to postpone conversion into electricity.
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