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Solar Breakthrough Could Make Solar Cells Obsolete

Anonymous Coward writes | more than 3 years ago

Power 2

An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at the University of Michigan have made a discovery about the behavior of light that could change solar technology forever. Stephen Rand, a professor in the departments of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Physics and Applied Physics and William Fisher, a doctoral student in applied physics, discovered that light, when traveling at the right intensity through a material such as glass that does not conduct electricity, can create magnetic fields that are 100 million times stronger than previously thought possible. In these conditions, the resulting magnetic field is strong enough to rival a strong electric effect. The result is an “optical battery, which could lead to “a new kind of solar cell without semiconductors and without absorption to produce charge separation”, according to Rand."
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That's bright! (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 3 years ago | (#35821192)

The light ... must be focused to an intensity of 10 million watts per square centimeter.

Holy sunburned sausage, Batman! That's 100,000,000,000 Watts per square meter. 10^11 W/m^2. One Hundred Billion W/m^2.

That's all of the ground-level peak solar insolation over an area of 100 km^2 concentrated onto 1 cm^2. That's the total area of the country of Montserrat.

(Obviously the sensor would be _much_ smaller than 1 cm^2 - the light intensity is still mind boggling).

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