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Energy Harvesting using Nanoantennas

The Invention

An array of nanowire antennas capable of absorbing electromagnetic radiation from the sun and connected to ultrafast rectifying diodes for useful generation of direct current for generating electrical power. 

Potential Applications

Nanoantennas' ability to absorb infrared and visible radiation makes them promising devices for solar energy harvesting or as cooling devices to convert unwanted heat into electricity.  Since objects give off heat as infrared radiation, the nanoantennas could collect this radiation and convert it to useful electric energy. Such a system could cool down computers and other hot devices without the external power source required by air-conditioners and fans, while returning part of the energy producing the original heating effect. Furthermore, panels made of rectifying nanoantennas could use direct absorption of the sun's electromagnetic waves at these frequencies to power homes and other electrical devices.  

Advantages

The use of rectifying nano-antennas can achieve much higher efficiencies than current or contemplated photovoltaic devices.  The antenna arrays can be tailored to specific wavelength giving them versatility to absorb and utilitze energy across the spectrum depending on what is available.  Metal nanowire arrays combined with rectifying diodes constructed from carbon nano tubes may be manufactured on very large thin films with a much lower cost than silicon based PV cells, making these suitable for panels that can be installed by unrolling them on roofs or walls. 

Patent
Patents pending in US, Europe, India and China