When you throw certain elements together like hydrogen or oxygen, they can bond in pairs or even triplets, forming O2 (oxygen) or O3 (ozone), for instance. Shine two flashlights together, however and … crickets. The photons simply pass through each other like phantoms and there’s no reaction whatsoever. That’s because they have no mass or charge, though they can become highly energized in the form of X-rays or gamma rays.
The active component of the thermal resonator is a foam made up of copper or nickel that is infused with a phase-changing wax known as octadecane, which liquifies and solidifies at certain temperatures. The foamy mix is coated in a layer of graphene, which is an excellent thermal conductor.
“In a way, this mechanism is not too dissimilar to electron-hole recombination in semiconductor photodetectors,” exaplained Lozada-Hidalgo. While the mechanism may not be too different than semiconductor photodetectors, these devices are based on proton transport as opposed with all current photodetectors today, which are based on electron transport.
A solar-driven photoelectrochemical cell provides a promising approach to enable the large-scale conversion and storage of solar energy, but requires the use of Earth-abundant materials.
It is even possible to capture images from light particles that have never even interacted with the object we want to photograph. This would take advantage of the idea of “quantum entanglement”, that two particles can be connected in a way that means whatever happens to one happens to the other, even if they are a long distance apart. This has intriguing possibilities for looking at objects whose properties might change when lit up, such as the eye. For example, does a retina look the same when in darkness as in light?
They discovered something they’d never seen before in an organic—electrons were skittering unfettered through the material, even outside the power-generating area of the cell.