Flexible Nanoantenna Arrays Capture Solar Energy
Researchers have devised an inexpensive way to produce plastic sheets containing billions of nanoantennas that collect heat energy generated by the sun and other sources. The researchers say that the technology, developed at the U.S. Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory (INL), is the first step toward a solar energy collector that could be mass-produced on flexible materials.
While methods to convert the energy into usable electricity still need to be developed, it is envisioned that the sheets could one day be manufactured as lightweight "skins" that power products such as hybrid cars or iPods with potentially higher efficiency than traditional solar cells. The nanoantennas also have the potential to act as cooling devices that draw waste heat from buildings or electronics without using electricity.
The nanoantennas target mid-infrared rays, which the Earth continuously radiates as heat after absorbing energy from the sun during the day. In contrast, traditional solar cells can only use visible light, rendering them idle after dark. Infrared radiation is an especially rich energy source because it also is generated by industrial processes such as coal-fired plants...........continued in article
This is pretty awesome, they could use it as underlayment on roofs and collect the IR heat energy during the day and at night for electricity, plus they could cover the back of solar thermal panels with it. They could also use it as backing for solar electric modules and since they would cool the conventional silicon cells it would improve the output of them plus add electrical output to the system from the heat..... My laptop gets super hot on the bottom so having that on the bottom would help conserve battery power...