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Grove School professor leads new metamaterials center
Date:4/13/2011

arch and the development of metamaterials devices with high commercialization potential.

Two areas of particular interest to him are: renewable energy and sensors. "The typical solar cell has low efficiency, but we can do things to improve their efficiency or lower their cost to make them more competitive with fossil fuels," he says.

Placing thin metamaterial films over silicon panels would allow solar light to pass through to silicon surfaces unblocked. The same film would capture the electricity produced by those surfaces. This could raise efficiency of terrestrial solar cells, now made with embedded thin metal strips, from 17 percent to 21 percent, he adds. Because the film would spread light laterally across the cell, thinner silicon wafers could be used, which would reduce the cost.

Three projects currently underway at Professor Crouse's laboratory involve creation of metamaterials for a hydrogen-powered generation device, biofuel-powered generation and splitting light so it could be directed to specific locations on a device. "It could be that different materials respond better to different elements of the spectrum," he explains. "We could create a light harvester that would direct different elements to where they would be used most efficiently."

The sensor projects, being conducted with NASA and DARPA (Defense Advance Research Projects Agency), aim to produce lightweight polar image metric sensors capable of measuring light's intensity, color and polarization or orientation. "If you can see the orientation of light, you can detect many properties of an object," he continues.

"For example, NASA scientists could detect and analyze the chemical composition of different kinds of pollutants." Current sensor technology is fragile and heavy and has poor resolution, he adds.

Besides Professor Crouse, CUNY faculty affiliated with the Center for Metamaterials include:

  • Dr. Robert R. Alfano, CUNY
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Contact: Ellis Simon
esimon@ccny.cuny.edu
212-650-6460
City College of New York
Source:Eurekalert

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