Scientists create circuit that can power itself from sunshine

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Washington, Feb 4 (ANI): Scientists have created a circuit that can power itself from sunshine, a technology that can eventually lead to a whole new generation of touchscreen devices that power themselves.

According to a report in Discovery News, the device, which is world's first photovoltaic circuit, has been created by scientists from the University of Pennsylvania in the US.

It could eventually power a new line of consumer devices or even model the human brain.

"This has the potential to create a new generation of optical and electronic devices," said Dawn Bonnell, a scientist from the University of Pennsylvania.

"The touchscreen of your computer could act as both the electrical charger and the computer chip," she added.

Right now, Bonnell and her colleagues can only coax minuscule amounts of electricity from their photovoltaic circuits, far too little to power consumer electrical devices.

Those amounts could quickly skyrocket.

"We would have one amp with one volt in a sample the diameter of a human hair and an inch long," said Bonnell.

Right now, only about 10 percent of the photovoltaic circuits on a glass side work. Increasing that number will boost the power output.

Yet another way to get more power is by turning their 2D structures into 3D structures.

Stacking multiple layers of light-collecting and electricity-using circuits would also boost power.

The photovoltaic circuits will most likely never replace their silicon counterparts.

Photovoltaic circuits could be ideal for other applications, however, such as powering tiny robotic devices or running computer calculations at the speed of light.

Far into the future, these circuits could even be used to set up as artificial neural networks that could model the brain.

To model the human nervous system, each color of light could correspond to a different neurotransmitter, say red for dopamine and blue for serotonin.

"This could open the door for many kinds of new devices," said Lukas Novotny, a scientist at the Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester.

Novotny notes that right now the circuit turns light into energy. He wonders if the circuit could turn energy into light, creating an entirely new class of lighting materials. (ANI)

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