Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Getting Technical: New Research on Superconductors and Solar Panels

Researchers at the University of Rochester in New York say they've developed a superconductor that has no resistance – zero – and operates at room temperature. But there still ain't no free lunch. According to Newsline, the combination of sulphur, carbon and hydrogen, or carbonaceous sulphur hydride, acts as a superconductor only when squeezed in a diamond anvil at approximately 300 gigapascals of pressure. That's nearly 3 million times Earth's ambient air pressure!

Checkerboard pattern solar cells (Photo by
Dr. Davide Zecca, University of York)
Across the pond in "old" York, scientists at the University of York in England have redesigned solar panels using grating lines in a checkerboard pattern – shifting from vertical to horizontal orientation in each succeeding square – and say they've been able to increase the panel's ability to absorb solar energy by as much as 125% over more common flat solar panels. Newsline reports that their paper, published in the journal Optica, says that the new design increases the diffraction rate, which in turn, could lead to thinner, lighter, more flexible and much more efficient solar panels.