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Future Homes: A Simple Material That Absorbs Light

Graphene is an amazing material, full of properties. Beyond its conductivity, resistance and flexibility, scientists have found another feature, which they were looking for, for a long time.

The experts are striving for some time to find a nanomaterial that absorbs light. Well, a Graphene structure as thick an atom manages this without performance issues. Now, a team of scientists from the United Kingdom found a way to manipulate the material which they consider as being the best when it comes to light absorption and hope to use it for all sorts of solar technologies in the future. “Being very thin, Graphene is able to absorb only a small percentage of light which falls upon him,” said José Anguita, an expert researcher in nano-electronics. Apparently, for this reason, it won’t be suitable for all necessary optoelectronic technologies in future homes.

To get rid of this limitation, the experts have been inspired from an unusual source: the eyes of a moth. By simulating how an extremely small texture on the moth’s eyes captures light, allowing it to see in the dark, the researchers were able to significantly increase the potential for absorption of light which Graphene already had. The experiment was run by Ravi Silva of the University of Advanced Technology and supposed the “growth” of Graphene on a metallic surface, which redirected the light in a manner similar to the mirrors, in the molecular structure of the Graphene film.

The Graphene nanotexturing can channel light in narrow spaces of nanostructures, amplifying the amount of light absorbed by the material. Normally, a Graphene sheet would have a level of absorption of 2-3%. Using this method, the amount increased to 95% and includes several light types, from UV to infrared. Also, researchers claim that this technique, described in detail in the Science Advances, could allow the solar sensors from optical devices to generate energy from ambiental heat or light, in ways that no devices are currently doing it.

Silva believes that the material can be integrated into smart windows, being able to generate electricity by simply absorbing the light and heat from their surroundings. The expert spoke of a future in which The Internet of Things might allow the creation of applications for this technology. Of course, it is currently an early stage, but if the researchers can find a commercial partner to further develop this Graphene nanotexture, they could turn the huge solar panels into small sensors that can be integrated anywhere.

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