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Weird Solar Science

A few years back a sort of strange solar nanotechnology was being tossed about.

A new kind of way to use solar cells that doesn’t involve a regular panel display was being looked at to recharge batteries.

Researchers at Shanghai, China’s Donghua University and a company in Potsdam, Germany called the Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces, examined how to power up batteries inside implanted objects with photovoltaic cells. They found that this can actually be done by concentrating a specialized infrared laser beam through the skin.

By implementing uncommon upconverting nanophosphors from the earth that can soak in the light from the laser, it causes it to produce a luminescent glow that is visible, and in turn sparks the solar cells to generate electricity.

Normally, solar cells need to be directly visible to light to efficiently collect enough redistributable energy. The standard way that solar panels work make it a challenge to provide energy for devices in which the panels are not obviously subject to the elements.

The researchers found that the nanophosphors could be absorbed by dyes in the photovoltaic cells in order to produce power.

Sound strange?

It gets a little more so when the model for human biological tissue was introduced. They investigated the effectiveness of the procedure when covered with an obstacle. Wanting to know the outcome with skin that is similar to humans, they utilized pig intestine slivers. After covering the photovoltaic cells with varying quantities, from 1 to 6 layers of the material, it was discovered that the solar cells could still produce enough energy to operate several biodevices.

Weird Solar Science

Image source: nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=13975.php

Solar rays going through biological tissues in order to power up an internal gadget does sound a little unusually progressive, even for the realm of science. However, when understood in context of how this technology could affect the future of implanted devices for medical necessity, for example, possibly for use in objects with batteries that need to be surgically replaced, it detracts from the unconventional aspect a little.

Obviously, more work in this area would be required, but researchers stated that their discovery was imperative for finding a readily available power source for wireless capable biodevices and biological nanorobots.

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