Tag Archives: microbiology

Finally, A Solar Panel That You Can Actually See Through!

Solar power technology has been advancing rapidly in recent years. The rapidly decreasing cost and increasing efficiency of solar power has set off a solar revolution worldwide.

Germany, which is currently using solar to produce 50% of its total energy, has led the charge, along with the rest of Europe.

Other countries, like India, have made the expansion of solar infrastructure a primary focus.

The growth of solar power in the last 15 years. Click to enlarge

Now, there’s a new advancement which could end up being the tipping point in the solar revolution: a totally transparent solar concentrator.

The “transparent luminescent solar concentrator” can be placed over windows to gather solar power while still allowing people to actually see through the window.

The concentrator, which was designed by a team of researchers from Michigan State University, can also be used on cell phones or pretty much anything with a clear surface.

Other people have tried to design transparent solar concentrators before, but the materials they used were inefficient (in terms of energy  production) and created some pretty obvious tints on the window.

“No one wants to sit behind colored glass… It makes for a very colorful environment, like working in a disco. We take an approach where we actually make the luminescent active layer itself transparent,”

said Robert Lunt, an engineering professor at MSU who led the research.

A close up of the solar concentrator (Photo: Yimu Zhao)
A close up of the solar concentrator (Photo: Yimu Zhao)

This new solar concentrator uses tiny organic molecules that were specifically designed by Lunt and his team to absorb wavelengths of light that are invisible to the naked eye.

“We can tune these materials to pick up just the ultraviolet and the near infrared wavelengths that then ‘glow’ at another wavelength in the infrared,”

said Lunt while explaining the process. This infrared light is then directed to the edges of the concentrator, where tiny strips of photovoltaic cells convert it into electricity.

Since the molecules used to capture the energy are specifically designed to not absorb or emit light within the visible spectrum, the concentrator appears to be almost completely transparent to the naked eye.

The electromagnetic spectrum. Click to enlarge

The technology is innovative, functional and versatile. Lunt believes it could ultimately become a huge part of our lives:

“It can be used on tall buildings with lots of windows or any kind of mobile device that demands high aesthetic quality like a phone or e-reader. Ultimately we want to make solar harvesting surfaces that you do not even know are there.”

Read the original story from Science Daily here.

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Using Abstract Shapes to Capture the Motion of Legendary Olympians (Video)

Felix Deimann, a young motion artist from Dortmund, Germany, has always been fascinated with the dynamics of motion.

So for his final college thesis project, he decided to use digital graphics and abstract shapes to capture some of the most iconic athletes from the history of the Olympic Games.

His subjects: Nadia Comăneci, the first gymnast to ever earn a perfect 10, Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian ever, the legendary U.S. basketball Dream Team that dominated the ’92 games in Barcelona, and Usain Bolt, who still holds the title of the fastest man ever.

He named the project “Citius, Altius, Fortius”, after the ancient Olympic motto meaning “Faster, Higher, Stronger”.

This isn’t Felix’s first time creating awesome motion art, however.

In 2013, while still in college, he did another student project called “In Vitro”, in which he captures the earliest phases of life creation within the human body:

Felix also does some static art. Check out some of his work in the images below (click an image to enlarge):

 

You can check out more of Felix’s work on his website here.