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Monday, 19 August 2013 17:45

KU researchers working to improve the way electronic devices receive power

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It's just a tiny little device barely the size of a penny, but does much more than what meets the eye. The device known as a nano-carbon solar cell is capable of charging everyday electronics likes phones and laptops, all from being exposed to a light source.

"This detector can help us detect all the light human eye cannot see that's invisible to the human eye, so this is the kind of technology we are developing," Assistant Professor in Chemistry at KU Sheniqang Ren said.

It's not just sunlight that will allow electronics to energize, the device will even charge by soaking up lights that are indoors. Since it is so small and portable, it would have the flexibility to go anywhere.

"Even wearable devices, like on your shirt you can think about using this as a flexible device that will attach on your shirt, and you can charge your device, so this is kind of the technology for the future," said Ren.

The future is when seeing these devices could be more practical, since the device is still in the testing stages it has not been released to any companies yet, but it allows students at KU to work with top notch technologies.

"It's an important area to look into because it is going to be kind of the future of how we are going to go on and continue harvesting energy, and solar energy the sun is an infinite power of sunlight. It's our source of energy so it only makes sense to tap into that because it is one resource we will always have, well for the foreseeable future," Graduate Student Jess Lohrman.

Depending on how much progress is made on the device in the next few years, KU could even have the opportunity of partnering with companies like Apple and Samsung.

"This can really help them to better understand how this academic research work can be useful, or can be applied into our daily life so this is something I would say is very important for those students," said Ren.

Having the opportunity of working with a major company would be a big bonus for the students, and for KU researchers looking for a means to fund programs that support the technologies of the future.

"I just like that it has an application and it would be important. I like that it has a direct impact on society and would be useful," said Lohrman.

When the nano-carbon solar cell devices become available it will not only be environmentally friendlier, but could even save you some extra money on your electricity bill.

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