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Space-based power stations?

July 1, 1993

Space-based power stations?

By Jeff Havens, Staff Writer

Researchers at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in upstate New York are developing a solar cell that could put a power system in Earth’s orbit that could beam electricity from space to Earth.

Scientists at the institute are working with the Ohio Aerospace Institute and Phoenix Innovatiions, Inc., to make a solar cell that is light, thin, highly efficient and the size of a football field. To accomplish this, a thin-film device will sandwich extremely tiny semiconductors known as quantum dots between carbon nanotubes.

Quantum dots act as containers that release or hold electrons depending on changes in the electric field surrounding the electrons. Carbon nanotubes are tiny cylinders that may act as subways to transport the electrons in the thin-film device.

The announcement was the result of NIT’s NanoPower Research Laboratory being awarded a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation to develop nanomaterials.

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