05 Dec '12, 1pm

MIT reveals solar “funnel” breakthrough #solar #green

“We’re trying to use elastic strains to produce unprecedented properties,” says Ju Li, an MIT professor and corresponding author of a paper describing the new solar-funnel concept that was published this week in the journal Nature Photonics. In the experiment, a stretched sheet of ultra-thin film material is poked down at its centre by a microscopic needle that indents the surface and produces a curved, funnel-like shape. The pressure exerted by the needle imparts elastic strain, which increases toward the sheet’s centre. The varying strain changes the atomic structure just enough to “tune” different sections to different wavelengths of light — including not just visible light, but also some of the invisible spectrum, which accounts for much of the sun’s energy. According to MIT, this manipulation of strain in materials is part of a whole new field of research, elastic eng...

Full article: http://www.renewableenergyfocus.com/view/29693/mit-reveal...

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