Monday, June 05, 2006


sizzlin' gizzards:
"Researchers have succeeded in creating a new substance -- a heteroelectric -- due to which the battery down here on Earth can be powered by the energy of the sun and stars irrespective of weather conditions'."
Yes, this is about that post just down the page from this one, and another below that about the "invisibility cloak."

I did some poking about on some physics blogs, and it seems that possibly both of these articles are about the same sort of nano-technology—that of Metamaterials.

These are materials that have strange and unusual properties not because of what they're made of, but because of how they are made—their physical structure, not their composition—sort of how a house is a house, whether it's built of wood, stone, or steel.

By using variations on the same techniques used to make tiny circuitry in microchips, materials can be machined in such a way as to have tiny cavities and structures that interact with waves, both electromagnetic and sound waves. The smaller the wavelength, the smaller the structures that interact with it. There are small (pencil eraser sized) cavities that can be machined into metal arrays to vastly increase the resolution of ultrasound. The much smaller wavelengths of infrared and regular light require much much tinier guides, but apparently they are being developed as well, as mentioned in the "invisibility cloak" article, where tiny wave guides bend light around any object wrapped in it.

That "Heteroelectric" thing may be a similar crafting of nano-receptors that are much more sensitive to light than regular solar cells. May be, if they exist, which is still not certain.

I sure hope they do. This micro-machining technology could re-write the rules of the entire energy/pollution/global warming scene.


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