Scientists are developing a new way to turn escaping nighttime heat into "reverse solar"-style energy. This isn’t the only team to work on capturing low-wavelength radiation as a way to increase energy efficiency. The secret is using thermal radiation cells instead of photovoltaic solar cells. From the annals of symbolism, Inverse reports that scientists are working on backward solar panels that generate power at night. In what could be the most hardcore paper title ever, the researchers are calling their process “ Optically Coupling with Deep Space .” So what does that mean? Well, photovoltaic cells accumulate heat during the day, even during cloudy days. What they register, though, is the visible spectrum of light, which is a different animal. To turn even low-level heat into energy, scientists have to use a thermal cell instead of a photo cell. The materials must be able to absorb the lowest wavelengths of energy. Researchers are working on projects like individual molecules that harvest the full spectrum of light, but for this project, the team is considering mercury alloys that will absorb the low wavelengths in particular. The mechanism itself will work by just reversing what we think of as the mechanism […]

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