Many studies have already shown that single-walled carbon nanotubes are capable of absorbing light and converting it into heat. But, it seems like researchers at Tsinghua University in Beijing aren’t really satisfied with it. So, they have taken the study a little further and fabricated a opto-electronic power source that is based on SWCNT buckypapers, which has a strong capability to convert heat into electricity.
This demo integrated device that outputs a macroscopic voltage was developed by as-prepared SWCNT sheets (p-type) and PEI-coated SWCNT sheets (n-type) from CVD-grown arrays of SWCNTs of around 2nm diameter and 0.36mm length. These small strips of the buckypapers were suspended and exposed to NIR light with a wavelength of 980nm and then the output voltage was recorded. The team claims that higher performance of the device can easily be achieved by optimizing the sheet structure. This ingenious invention could be used in harvesting solar energy or as infrared detectors.