A number of Stanford researchers have created a solar panel that cools buildings in direct sunlight. So someday your home might be nice and cool in the middle of July without the need for air conditioning. How?
For this to be achieved the panel must reflect rather than absorb as much sunlight as possible, as well as radiate heat back into the building. Stanford’s invention does both:
It is an effective broadband mirror for solar light—it reflects most of the sunlight. It also emits thermal radiation very resourcefully within the crucial wavelength range needed to escape Earth’s atmosphere.
The panels are a combination of both a thermal emitter and a solar reflector. The team of researchers are the first to achieve this type of sustainable cooling during daytime hours by engineering nanostructure photonic materials—forms of light radiation—to either enhance or suppress light at different wavelengths.
The outcome is a tool that can cool 100 watts per square meter. In realistic terms, that…
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