Saudi scientists for the first time teleported the energy of the Sun
Scientists at the University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia have come up with a way to convert the energy of infrared radiation emitted by the sun-heated Earth to electric current. For this purpose, quantum tunneling was used. This is reported by the Science Alert.
A large amount of solar radiation entering the Earth is absorbed by the surface and the atmosphere and re-emitted in the form of infrared waves. According to experts, the energy in this form flows in the amount of about one million gigawatts every second.
To capture it, researchers suggest using nanoscale antennas and associated diodes, which consist of an insulating layer sandwiched between two metal layers. In such devices, called rectines, there is a phenomenon known as quantum tunneling - the teleportation of a particle through an insurmountable energy barrier.
Quantum tunneling is impossible from the standpoint of classical physics, but it is explained within the framework of quantum mechanics. Because of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle for a particle whose location is known, the impulse will be uncertain, that is, it can take on random values. Thus, the particle can receive additional potential energy, which is enough to overcome the barrier. This phenomenon is used to amplify the electric fields inside the diodes.
Scientists created a prototype diode, placing a thin insulating layer between two metal brackets of gold and titanium. Photons of infrared radiation fall into the rectum and knock out electrons from the metal at the metal-insulator boundary. This leads to the appearance of plasmons - coordinated oscillations of electrons - and to the amplification of the electric field due to the tunneling effect at the point where the arms slightly overlap.
For tunneling, it is usually necessary to apply voltage, however this device captures infrared radiation, converts it into an electric current and amplifies it by operating in a passive mode.