Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

New Material Absorbs and Stores Solar Energy

Researchers at Lancaster University in the UK studied a crystalline solid material with parts such as atoms, molecules, or ions that are arranged in a highly ordered microscopic structure, and discovered it has properties that allow it to capture solar energy.

The crystalline material is based on a type of “metal-organic framework” (MOF), which consists of a network of metal ions — atoms or molecules with a net electric charge — linked by carbon-based molecules to form 3-D structures. MOFs are porous, so they can form composite materials by hosting other small molecules within their structures. The MOF composite is a solid, so it is chemically stable and easily contained.

The Lancaster research team wanted to find out if a MOF composite known as DMOF1, previously prepared by a research team at Japan’s Kyoto University, could be used to store energy. That had never been researched before.

The MOF pores were loaded with molecules of azobenzene, a compound that strongly absorbs light. These molecules act as photoswitches that can change shape when an external stimulus, such as light or heat, is applied. The researchers exposed the material to UV light, which caused the azobenzene molecules to change shape to a strained configuration inside the MOF pores, like a bent spring. The narrow MOF pores trap the azobenzene molecules in their strained shape, so the potential energy can be stored for long periods of time at room temperature.

When external heat is applied as a trigger to “switch” its state, the energy is released again, like a spring snapping straight. This provides heat that can be used to warm other materials.

It seems like this is the first try at the slow glass rod from The Exalted by L. Sprague de Camp:

He held a contraption made of a glass rod and assorted wires. Methuen sighted along his glass rod and pressed a button. A pop... and a flash!

"By applying the right e.m.f. to pure crown glass, its possible to raise its index of refraction to a remarkable degree. The result is that the light striking the glass is so slowed up that it takes weeks to pass through it in the ordinary manner. The light that is thus trapped can be released by making a small spark near the glass.
(Read more about the slow glass rod)

Update 10-Mar-2021: In his 1940 story Let There Be Light, Robert Heinlein (writing as Lyle Monroe) describes a solar power screen:

"...why can't we cut a crystal that would have a natural frequency in the octave of visible light?"

"...these crystals have the property of flexing when electrical charges are applied to them..."

Thanks to SMOF for contributing to this article. End update.

Via Electrek.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/1/2020)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Material ")

Goldene - A Two-Dimensional Sheet Of Gold One Atom Thick
'Hasan always pitched a Gauzy - a one-molecule-layer tent, opaque, feather-light, and very tough.' - Roger Zelazny, 1966.

GNoME AI From DeepMind Invents Millions Of New Materials
'...the legendary creativity of our finest human authors pales against the mathematical indefatigability of GNoME.'

Omniphobic Liquid-like Surfaces And de Camp's Telelubricator (1940)
'So the surface, to the depth of a few molecules, is put in the condition of a supercooled liquid as long as the beam is focused on it.' - L. Sprague de Camp, 1940.

MXenes - Atomic-Thin Metal Sheets Now Easier To Make
'...a rolled-up sheet of a thin, dark metal strange to them.' - John Edwards, 1934.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

LORIS Passive-Gripper Climbing Robot
'At the end of each appendage's eight fingers there are tinier appendages...'

Neuroplatform Human Brain Organoid Bioprocessor Uses Less Electricity
'Cultured brains on a slab.'

Drug To Regenerate Teeth In Humans
'We want to do something to help those who are suffering from tooth loss or absence,' said lead researcher Katsu Takahashi.

Coin-Sized Nuclear Battery Good For 100 Years
'...power pack the size of a pea.'

Live Stream With Meta-Ban Multimodal Smart Glasses
'...the bug-eyed, opaque gape of her True-Vu lenses.'

'Autonomous' Waymo Improves Driving With Remote Human Operators
'...some bored drone pusher in a remote driving centre has got your life... in his hands.'

Will Whales Be Our First Contact?
'He had piloted the Adastra to its first contact with the civilization of another solar system.'

Heinlein’s Controlway - Connected and Automated Vehicle (CAV) Corridor In Michigan
'Well, that's us,' said Lazarus.

NYC/Dublin Portal Fails To Meet 'Guardian Of Forever' Standards
I am the Guardian of Forever.

SliceIt! Why Not Teach Robots To Use Knives?
'One building now gushed forth smoke and another stench that was unmistakable.'

FLOAT Levitating Train On The Moon ala Clarke
'The low-slung monorail car, straddling its single track, bored through the shadows on a slowly rising course.'

Singapore Writers Push Back On LLM Training
'...we've promised him a generous pension from the royalties.'

SpaceX Intros Extravehicular Activity Suit
'Provision had been made to meet the terrific cold which we knew would be encountered the moment we had passed beyond the atmosphere.'

Athena Smart Security Guard Robot With Face Recognition
'You are who we say you are, Dr. Dakin,' Turner said.'

The FLUTE Project - A Huge Liquid Mirror In Space
'It's area, and its consequent light-gathering capacity, was many times greater than any rigid mirror...'

Robot Preachers Found To Undermine Religious Commitment
'Tell me your torments,' the Padre said, in an elderly voice marked with compassion.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.