Australians built a “reverse” solar panel to generate electricity at night

Australian engineers made a thermoradiation diode that generates current due to its own thermal radiation. Article about it published In ACS Photonics magazine.

Traditional solar panels absorb light energy and generate electricity. When photons hit the surface, some of it is absorbed by the matter’s electrons. In this case, the electrons are excited, move to a new energy level, become free and move towards the anode, creating a current.

“The thermoradiative diode is a symmetrical analog of a photoelectric cell that uses emission rather than absorption of light to generate current,” write scientists from the University of New South Wales, led by Michael Nielsen.

The researchers made a photodiode from mercury-cadmium tellurium. When heated to 20 degrees Celsius, one of the samples tested produced 2.25 milliwatts per square meter. That’s an order of magnitude less than the specific power of a solar cell that can produce around 600 watts per square meter on Earth. However, according to theoretical calculations, the specific power of such diodes in the future may reach 1/10 of the power of solar panels.

The authors of the development hope that such items can be “knitted” into solar panels so that they continue to produce energy during cooling after the sun goes down.

Source: Gazeta


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