A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
New Material Absorbs and Stores Solar Energy
Researchers at Lancaster University in the UK studied a crystalline solid material with parts such as atoms, molecules, or ions that are arranged in a highly ordered microscopic structure, and discovered it has properties that allow it to capture solar energy.
The crystalline material is based on a type of “metal-organic framework” (MOF), which consists of a network of metal ions — atoms or molecules with a net electric charge — linked by carbon-based molecules to form 3-D structures. MOFs are porous, so they can form composite materials by hosting other small molecules within their structures. The MOF composite is a solid, so it is chemically stable and easily contained.
The Lancaster research team wanted to find out if a MOF composite known as DMOF1, previously prepared by a research team at Japan’s Kyoto University, could be used to store energy. That had never been researched before.
The MOF pores were loaded with molecules of azobenzene, a compound that strongly absorbs light. These molecules act as photoswitches that can change shape when an external stimulus, such as light or heat, is applied. The researchers exposed the material to UV light, which caused the azobenzene molecules to change shape to a strained configuration inside the MOF pores, like a bent spring. The narrow MOF pores trap the azobenzene molecules in their strained shape, so the potential energy can be stored for long periods of time at room temperature.
When external heat is applied as a trigger to “switch” its state, the energy is released again, like a spring snapping straight. This provides heat that can be used to warm other materials.
It seems like this is the first try at the slow glass rod from The Exalted by L. Sprague de Camp:
He held a contraption made of a glass rod and assorted wires. Methuen sighted along his glass rod and pressed a button. A pop... and a flash!
"By applying the right e.m.f. to pure crown glass, its possible to raise its index of refraction to a remarkable degree. The result is that the light striking the glass is so slowed up that it takes weeks to pass through it in the ordinary manner. The light that is thus trapped can be released by making a small spark near the glass.
(Read more about the slow glass rod)
Update 10-Mar-2021: In his 1940 story Let There Be Light, Robert Heinlein (writing as Lyle Monroe) describes a solar power screen:
"...why can't we cut a crystal that would have a natural frequency in the octave of visible light?"
"...these crystals have the property of flexing when electrical charges are applied to them..."
Thanks to SMOF for contributing to this article. End update.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/1/2020)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Tiny Mining - Extract Precious Industrial Minerals From Your Own Body
'Jim, I saw them reduce four of my doctors and nurses into those little cubes!' - Gene Roddenberry, 1968.
Polyaramide Is Stronger Than Steel, Light As Plastic
'... harnessed by aludur straps' - Leo Zagat, 1943.
Trinitite, Pentagrams And Isaac Asimov
'...And there were horns.' - Isaac Asimov, 1956.
RUSSE Self-Healing Plastic Works Underwater
'It even had an inter-skin layer of gum that could seal the punctures...' - Raymond Z. Gallun, 1951.
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.
New Train Station Offers Minority Report-Style Signs
A whole new world awaits you, John Anderton!
The Autonomous Robotic Urethral Catheter - Would You Use It?
'It'll snake its way in on its own.'
The Far Side Of The Moon, By NASA (2015) And By PAUL (1932)
"We had leisure to make a thorough observation of the hidden side of earth's satellite."
LoadRunner Robot Works Alone, Or In A Group
'They marched in unison, seven of them...'
Sierra Space Inflatable LIFE Habitat Burst Pressure Test
'It was like being inside a balloon...'
Longest Immersed Tunnel Will Connect Denmark and Germany
'... iron tubes... the ends of the tubes were joined to each other...to preserve it from the action of the seawater.'
Alcohol-Sensing Cars - NTSB Catches Up With Philip K. Dick (1963)
'Mr. Garden, you are in no condition to drive....'
Solar-Powered Remote-Control Cockroaches!
'A cable, here, from the controller to the interface plug... wires from that to the brain.'
SolarBotanic Tree For Solar Energy - Would You Need A Forest, Or Just One?
'The slender stalks of a sunshade-photocell collector...'
Metaverse Hardware - Run And Flail Like A Maniac, Or Lie Quietly?
'Holodeck 4 was waiting to be programmed...'
Robot Food Delivery Coming To Campus Near You
'... he rewired the delivery robot so that it would serve him midnight snacks.'
Are Craiyon Images Puddinged, ala Philip K. Dick?
'I stood in line for half an hour for this, and it's just a blob!'
Hip'Safe Airbag For Seniors, From Helite
'Other airbags go off around her torso and pelvis...'
Soulaje Self-Administered Euthanasia Wearable Prototype
'A young man... advanced with nervous strides along the gravel path which leads to the bronze doors of the Lethal Chamber.'
Midjourney AI Creates 'Théâtre D'opéra Spatial', Wins Art Fair First Prize
'... we'll give him in his brain what he needs for creation.'
Mobot Robot Tests Smartphone Apps With Its Finger
'Rapidly, purposefully, the metallic fingers moved over the key-boards...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories