Rice University News: Recycling Waste Heat into Light with Carbon Nanotubes

Thanks to PieEconomics for the following comment and link:

This could be the second most important energy related scientific discovery in our lifetime (the first being LENR):

Squeezing Heat Bandwidth To Become Light, and then Electricity, With 80% Efficiency…

Rice University
Rice device channels heat into light


An Excerpt:

The ever-more-humble carbon nanotube may be just the device to make solar panels – and anything else that loses energy through heat – far more efficient.

Rice University scientists are designing arrays of aligned single-wall carbon nanotubes to channel mid-infrared radiation (aka heat) and greatly raise the efficiency of solar energy systems.

A Rice University simulation shows an array of cavities patterned into a film of aligned carbon nanotubes. When optimized, the film absorbs thermal photons and emits light in a narrow bandwidth that can be recycled as electricity. Illustration by Chloe Doiron

Gururaj Naik and Junichiro Kono of Rice’s Brown School of Engineering introduced their technology in ACS Photonics.

Their invention is a hyperbolic thermal emitter that can absorb intense heat that would otherwise be spewed into the atmosphere, squeeze it into a narrow bandwidth and emit it as light that can be turned into electricity.

The discovery rests on another by Kono’s group in 2016 when it found a simple method to make highly aligned, wafer-scale films of closely packed nanotubes

Discussions with Naik, who joined Rice in 2016, led the pair to see if the films could be used to direct “thermal photons.”

“Thermal photons are just photons emitted from a hot body,” Kono said. “If you look at something hot with an infrared camera, you see it glow. The camera is capturing these thermally excited photons.”

Consider the implications…