2 hours ago
Is it possible to extract energy from waste?
Well waste can produce heat.. The big obstacle to using waste heat as energy is that it requires a very, very small antenna. That's because infrared heat has a very small wavelength, and the smaller the wavelength, the smaller the antenna needed to capture them. For example, AM radio signals have a much longer wavelength than, say, cell-phone signals: AM radio broadcasts in the hertz range and cell phones broadcast in the megahertz range, which means the waves of cell signals are around a million times shorter than those of radio. That's why your radio antenna needs to be longer than the one inside your phone.
Infrared heat? That gets into terahertz, which is a million times shorter than megahertz. Your smartphone antenna is positively massive in comparison to what you'd need to capture far-infrared waves.
But even after you manage to make an antenna small enough, there's another problem with harnessing heat for energy. Infrared waves are so small that they actually oscillate too fast for your average semiconductor to keep up.
Quantum tunneling works on a principle of quantum mechanics that says tiny particles like electrons don't have just one location or velocity — instead, they're just fuzzy swarms of probabilities. That means that if an electron is near a barrier, it's entirely possible for it to — poof! — appear on the other side, simply because there's some probability that it was already there in the first place. There's no actual "tunneling" happening in quantum tunneling, but it sure seems that way.
A team of scientists at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia proved their device could work by shooting it with an infrared laser. It successfully produced voltage — not a ton of it, but enough to show that it wasn't just a fluke. "This is just the beginning—a proof of concept," says Shamim. "We could have millions of such devices connected to boost overall electricity generation." #astronomy #astrophysics #thenightsky #stargazer #spacetime #stars #stargazing #QuantumTunneling #Earth #WasteToEnergy #quantumMechanics #universe #outerspace #infrared #science