Skip directly to content

Enhancing solar energy absorption

Researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo have developed an ultrathin film that captures and absorbs light more efficiently, paving the way for improved solar energy harvesting. 

This technology allows researchers to harness light energy from the entire spectrum, an advancement that could lead to technological breakthroughs in compact solar energy. The thin film's ability to absorb energy may also impact military stealth technology, where it could potentially be used to absorb radar, sonar or infrared waves to avoid detection. It may also represent an important means for dissipating heat in computers and other electronic devices. 

The ultrathin films contain metamaterials, materials specifically engineered to exhibit unusual properties that effectively slow light waves as they pass through the material. Until now, researchers relied on cryogenic gases, maintained at a temperature of -240 degrees Fahrenheit, to slow light. Because these conditions can only be replicated in a laboratory, there was little chance of commercial application.

Image

  • this waveguide catches and absorbs different colors of the spectrum in a vertical direction
Metamaterial waveguides efficiently trap multiple wavelengths of light.
SUNY Buffalo

Recent Award Highlights

a gallery of nanoparticles and thin films made with a flame-based process

Making electric inks less expensive

Unique fire-based recipe enables precision control of fabrication process

Research Areas: Nanoscience, Engineering Locations: New York
solar cells that harvest energy from both light and heat integrate into shingles

Of shingles and solar cells

Roofing material may convert light and heat into electricity

Research Areas: Engineering, Earth & Environment Locations: New York