Implantable solar cells the way of the future
Solar energy seems to be the way to go regardless of where you stay (we’re talking about populated areas and not some of those tribal peoples who live in extreme cold conditions, introduced to us through National Geographic), as it is free, environmentally friendly and capable of keeping your devices juiced up no matter what, albeit requiring far longer than usual compared to a regular power outlet. There is a new method of implementing solar cells, and we’re not talking about having it on your roof or the top of your car – as a partnership between researchers from Donghua University in Shanghai, China and Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam, Germany, managed to come up with photovoltaic cells that can be used to recharge batteries in implanted devices simply by shining a near infrared laser beam via the skin.
Sounds creepy? Yeah, this was made possible using rare earth upconverting nanophosphors that are capable of absorbing 980 nm laser light, where it is followed by emitting visible luminescence that will subsequently excite traditional solar cells to produce electricity. This might get a bit more technical than usual, but the boffins discovered that “under the irradiation of a 980-nm laser with a power of 1W, the visible up-converting luminescence of rare-earth nanophosphors can be efficiently absorbed by the dyes in 980LD-PVCs so that they exhibit a maximal output power of 0.47 mW.” Before it can be used on us humans, further testing must be conducted, and initial results have showed that even after being covered with 1 to 6 layers of pig intestines with a thickness of around 1mm per layer, 980LD-PVCs still managed to exert a maximal output power of between 0.28 and 0.02 mW, which is more than enough juice to power a whole host of biodevices.
Guess we might just have heart pacers that keep on going, and going, and going in the future, eh?