First Artificial Material That Follows Sunlight

Materials scientist Ximin He of UCLA and her colleagues found that an artificial material is capable of orienting itself toward a light source. In the lab test, the stemlike formed material called SunBOTs can capture 90 percent of available light shining onto a surface at a 75-degree angle.


SunBOT works by, having its stemlike polymer embedded with a nanomaterial that responds to light. The nanomaterial absorbs light and converts it into heat. The polymer shrinks in response to increased temperatures.

This is quite a breakthrough for solar energy production. Right now most solar systems have the solar panels fixed and aimed in one direction. This limits the energy output of the solar array. With SunBOTs the energy output could be nearly double. Although real-world testing will have to be done to know for sure.

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