The key step in creating the device was the development of something called an absorber-emitter. It essentially acts as a light funnel above the solar cells. The absorbing layer is built from solid black carbon nanotubes that capture all the energy in sunlight and convert most of it into heat.
“The results provide a very convenient laboratory example of what is known as a ‘dissipative soliton system’ which is a central concept in nonlinear science and also relevant to studies in other fields, such as biology, medicine and possibly even social sciences,” said John. M. Dudley, a researcher at the University of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté.
While this isn’t the first technology in development that’s designed to see objects around corners, the new algorithm is far more efficient and effective at producing an image than previous attempts, researchers said.
“Ultimately, my hope is that such tiny objects will have smartphone capabilities and be built to float about helping us in our everyday lives in smarter ways,” said the University of Tokyo professor, who hopes it will be commercially viable in five to 10 years.
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.
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.