YiXiang Yeng, Ivan Celanovic, Marin Soljacic, and Walker ChanCredit: Justin Knight
By choosing how we design the nanostructure, we can create materials that have novel optical properties. This gives us the ability to control and manipulate the behavior of light.
A novel MIT technology is now making possible remarkably efficient photovoltaic (PV) systems that can be powered by the sun, a hydrocarbon fuel, a decaying radioisotope, or any other source of heat. The key to the efficient operation: a specially engineered material that absorbs the heat and then—because of billions of nanoscale pits on its surface—selectively radiates to the PV cell only those wavelengths that the cell can convert into electricity.