Saturday, February 16, 2013

Full Wavelength Solar

The holy grail of solar is to capture the complete wavelength of light generated by the sun, something not readily achievable until now.

They developed a "hyperbolic metamaterial waveguide," which is essentially an advanced microchip made of alternate ultra-thin films of metal and semiconductors and/or insulators. The waveguide halts and ultimately absorbs each frequency of light, at slightly different places in a vertical direction, to catch a "rainbow" of wavelengths.

Gan is a researcher within UB's new Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics.
"Electromagnetic absorbers have been studied for many years, especially for military radar systems," Gan said. "Right now, researchers are developing compact light absorbers based on optically thick semiconductors or carbon nanotubes. However, it is still challenging to realize the perfect absorber in ultra-thin films with tunable absorption band.

"We are developing ultra-thin films that will slow the light and therefore allow much more efficient absorption, which will address the long existing challenge."

Carver Mead, the inventor of VLSI, pioneered this approach in developing the Foeveon chip to capture light by using an RGB arrangement in a chip used in Sigma Cameras for high end digital photography.

The Foveon X3 sensoris a CMOS[1] image sensor for digital cameras, designed by Foveon, Inc. (now part of Sigma Corporation) and manufactured by National Semiconductor[2] and Dongbu Electronics.[3] It uses an array of photosites, each of which consists of three vertically stacked photodiodes, organized in a two-dimensional grid. Each of the three stacked photodiodes responds to different wavelengths of light, i.e., each has a different spectral sensitivity curve. This difference is due to the fact that different wavelengths of light penetrate silicon to different depths.[4] The signals from the three photodiodes are then processed, resulting in data that provides the three additive primary colors, red, green, and blue.

"Listen to the technology; find out what it's telling you." - Carver Mead

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