Better Than Dune Chromoplastic? This Guy Might Have Done It

For those not fully in the know, the chromoplastic dew collector is one of my favorite bits of technovelgy from Frank Herbert's 1965 novel Dune:

"how do you suppose it lives when we leave it? Each is planted most tenderly in its own little pit. The pits are filled with smooth ovals of chromoplastic. Light turns them white. You can see them glistening in the dawn if you look down from a high place. White reflects. But when Old Father Sun departs, the chromoplastic reverts to transparency in the dark. It cools with extreme rapidity. The surface condenses moisture out of the air. That moisture trickles down to keep our plants alive."

Pretty clever idea. But a real-life (not fictional) materials scientist named Aaswath Raman at UCLA has done fiction one better with this nano photonic radiative cooler metamaterial (start around 6:50 for more background):


(Aaswath Raman nano photonic radiative cooler)

From fundamental thermodynamic considerations, in order to convert heat to usable work, it is important to have a heat source with a temperature that is as high as possible, and to have a heat sink with a temperature that is as low as possible. The vast majority of energy conversion processes at the moment use our ambient surroundings on Earth itself, with a temperature of approximately 300 K, as the heat sink. On the other hand, the universe, with a temperature of approximately 3 K, represents a much better heat sink. The ability to harness the coldness of the universe could therefore have broad implications for energy technologies in general, and represents an important emerging frontier in renewable energy research.

The ability of photonic structures such as metamaterials to control the behavior of electromagnetic waves is essential to effectively harness the coldness of the universe. Earth's atmosphere is largely transparent to electromagnetic waves in the wavelength range of 813 μm. This wavelength range coincides with the spectral peak for black body radiation at 300 K. Thus, any object, when exposed to the sky, can radiate its heat out in a process known as radiative cooling (Fig. 1a) and passively reach sub-ambient temperatures.

This natural phenomenon has been implemented and studied at night for centuries. However, to improve the thermodynamic efficiency of energy technologies in general, and for cooling applications in particular, it would be far more useful to enable the same cooling effect during the day. The challenge here is that a sky-facing object faces the sun directly during daylight hours. For this purpose, then, one would need to create a structure that reflects the entire solar spectrum very well, while at the same time generating strong thermal radiation in the 813 μm wavelength range.

(Via Metamaterials for radiative sky cooling.)

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/9/2019)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Engineering ")

Liftware Level, Google's Smart Spoon
'The result was indeed marvelous... I did not stagger and I did not reel.' - Ellis Parker Butler, 1926.

Prufrock The Newest Boring Machine
'It sounds to me as though you had invented a kind of metal earthworm...'

Stratuscent Electronic Nose
'It's picking up diphenyl compounds and tetra hydrocarbons.' - Michael Crichton, 1985.

Smart Contact Lenses Charges With 3D Printed Antenna
'He realized that it was not quite a clear lens.' - Vernor Vinge, 2001.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Liftware Level, Google's Smart Spoon
'The result was indeed marvelous... I did not stagger and I did not reel.'

Cute Teddy Bear Robot Favorite Of Hospitalized Children
'...thought had been given to its programming.'

Google Now Expects Chips To Design Themselves
'What lay down there? Energy, tubes and pipes, wiring, transformers, self-contained machinery...'

PRAM Solar Powered Satellite Hardware Tested In Orbit
'Our beams feed these worlds energy drawn from... the Sun'

3D Printed Glass Uses Stereolithography Techniques
'All that with glass...'

Science Fiction Helps Young Readers Build Resiliency
'Reading science fiction and fantasy can help readers make sense of the world.'

I Want My 1928 Telestereo Hologram Now
'Instantly there appeared standing upon the disk, the image of a man...'

Memes Now Come From Neural Nets
'Your order said for him to be able to be able to work out twists on the gags in the file...'

Robot Dog Learns To Be Doggy From Real Dogs
'So we took pictures of Guzub making a Three Planets, and I could construct this one to do it exactly right down to the thousandth of a second.'

Unwanted Cruise Ships Huddle Together Out At Sea
'On the screen they passed in an endless, boundaryless flood of green specks...'

Sono Sion Electric Car Charges As You Drive
'It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'

News Mood Filter Web Extension
'He adjusted the n, the r and b knobs, and hopefully anticipated a turn for the better...'

Fetal Lamb Rests In Artificial Womb
'... stewing warm on their cushion of peritoneum and gorged with blood-surrogate and hormones, the foetuses grew and grew...'

MIT Wants To Catch Interstellar Visitors
'INVESTIGATE MYSTERIOUS OBJECT ENTERING NEW CALEDONIA SYSTEM FROM NORMAL SPACE'

AutoX Sets Up Asia's Largest Robotaxi Center
'The robot cab seemed to know where it was going and, no doubt, the master machine from which it received its signals knew.'

E - Ink's Automatic Self Styling Color-Changing Dress
'The racks of gowns itched and quivered, their colors running into blurred pools.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.