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.
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.
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?
“For invisibility cloaking, we need to both transmit and manipulate light in very precise ways, and that’s very difficult today,” said Rachel Goldman, professor of materials science, engineering and physics.