A paper published this month by Flavio Del Santo, Borivoje Dakić, and Philip Walther in Physical Review Letters, and a follow up demonstration posted on arXiv.org explains how. The technique relies on quantum superposition—the idea that unobserved quantum particles can be in more than one place at once.
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.
Boeing Leads Investment In New High Energy Density Battery That Could Eventually Enable Electric Flight
Batteries are currently taking over ground transport with electric cars and trucks, but battery technology is improving so quickly that it is soon expected to spread to air transport soon.
“One general philosophy for making something that can maintain high stress is to make it so strong that it’s unbreakable,” said Huang, professor of materials science and engineering in Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering.
When they illuminated the membrane with sunlight, they found the proton conductivity increased by 10 times, according to Dr Marcelo Lozada-Hidalgo, who led the research alongside Prof Sir Andre Geim.
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.