It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
A dramatic and surprising magnetic effect of light discovered by University of Michigan researchers could lead to solar power without traditional semiconductor-based solar cells. The researchers found a way to make an "optical battery," said Stephen Rand, a professor in the departments of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Physics and Applied Physics. In the process, they overturned a century-old tenet of physics. "You could stare at the equations of motion all day and you will not see this possibility. We've all been taught that this doesn't happen," said Rand, an author of a paper on the work published in the Journal of Applied Physics. "It's a very odd interaction. That's why it's been overlooked for more than 100 years."
The light must be shone through a material that does not conduct electricity, such as glass. And it must be focused to an intensity of 10 million watts per square centimeter. Sunlight isn't this intense on its own , but new materials are being sought that would work at lower intensities, Fisher said
The university is pursuing patent protection for the intellectual property
Originally posted by Radekus
reply to post by Thill
All you need is a satellite dish and small mirrors to reflect the sunlight into one focal point,
shouldn't cost you more than 500$. This is how solar furnaces work,
basic steam engine principle, except you got the sun heating the water as opposed to
coal, oil or wood.
However, there is a way to “boost” solar power to make it more affordable: Instead of converting sunlight to electricity, solar thermal power plants, also called concentrated solar power (CSP), harness the sun’s energy by converting it — with the help of mirrors that focus the intense energy — to heat. There are several different configurations of mirrors that CSP plants can use. Some plants — such as the California SEGS plants — use “parabolic troughs,” curved mirrors that focus the energy onto pipes containing circulating oil, which absorbs the energy and uses it to heat steam to power a standard generator. Another kind of concentrating solar technology, solar “power towers,” uses a large field of sun-tracking mirrors called heliostats that face a central tower and focus the solar energy onto a receiver on its top. The intense energy concentrated onto the tower produces temperatures up to 1,500 degrees Celsius (2,732 degrees Fahrenheit). That thermal energy then heats up water, producing steam that drives a turbine to produce electricity.