Materials

Laser-Etched Metal Creates 'Perfect' Solar Energy Absorber

A University of Rochester  research lab used lasers to create "unsinkable" metallic structures and have now demonstrated that the same technology can be used to create "perfect," highly-efficient solar power generators. They used powerful femto-second laser pulses to etch metal surfaces with nanoscale structures that selectively absorb light only at the solar wavelengths. The collected sunlight can then power an electrical generator for solar power. The lab found that tungsten had the highest solar absorption efficiency when treated with the new nanoscale structures. This improved the efficiency of thermal electrical generation by 130 percent compared to untreated tungsten.