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Self-Powered Solar Circuit Could Help Computing Become Greener and Faster


A team of scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have developed the world’s first circuit powered by solar energy that can power itself, as long as it’s left in a beam of sunshine. It could eventually power a new line of consumer devices or even model the human brain.

“This has the potential to create a new generation of optical and electronic devices,” said Dawn Bonnell, a scientist from the University of Pennsylvania who co-authored a recent ACS Nano paper describing the research. “The touchscreen of your computer could act as both the electrical charger and the computer chip.”

According to the researchers, the circuit can only coax minuscule amounts of electric energy, far too little to power consumer electronic devices. It can produce one amp with one volt in a sample the diameter of a human hair and an inch long, or at least theoretically it would do so if developed to the maximum. Researchers claim that only about 10 percent of the photovoltaic circuits on a glass side work.

Another way to produce power by using these circuits is to turn their 2D structures into 3D structures. Stacking multiple layers of light-collecting and electricity-using circuits would also boost energy. This photovoltaic circuit could be ideal for other applications such as running computer calculations at the speed of light and powering tiny robotic devices. For the future, these circuits could be used to set up as artificial neural networks that could model the brain.

[Source: Discovery News]

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