The process through which plants turn sunlight into energy via photosynthesis has served as inspiration for a new kind of light sensor. Useful for cutting-edge photovoltaics, optical communications, and cameras.
Future solar cells and other technologies that employ comparable devices might benefit from this development by increasing the efficiency with which they produce energy. Researchers from the University of Michigan in the United States are credited for the finding, which was published in the journal Optica.
Many plants utilize photosynthetic structures, which consist of an area that absorbs light and transmits that energy to a core that generates an electric current.
Because of the intricacy involved in duplicating the efficient flow of energy from one location to another, this arrangement is both very effective and extremely difficult to replicate.
Researchers lead by Bin Liu employed polaritons, rare particles that allowed them to do the apparently impossible. According to Stephen Forrest, one of the study’s co-authors, “a polariton combines a photon with an excited molecular state, and hence possesses features that permit long-range energy transmission and conversion.” Forrest explains that their polariton-based photodetector is a first of its kind in the real world.
As shown by the data, the novel sensor is superior to the silicon photodiode, the standard light-to-electricity converter used in most modern optical fibers and solar cells. Also, it was discovered that it could transfer energy across lengths of 0.1 nanometers (one nanometer is equivalent to one billionth of a meter), which is three times larger than what is achieved in plants.