You’ve probably heard of solar panels, which soak up the sun’s rays and turn them into electricity. But imagine if this electricity could continue, even when the sun goes down? We experience many hours of darkness, after all, so it only makes sense that this electricity should continue throughout the night. That’s where thermophotovoltaics comes in. It transforms heat into light, which the solar cells turn into electricity for your gadgets.
According to an article in Nature, “By reflecting unconverted photons, scientists preserve the energy of the sub-bandgap light through reabsorption by the emitter. The reflected and subsequently reabsorbed light helps to keep the emitter hot, thereby minimizing the energy input required to heat the emitter.” This continues even when the sun goes to bed for the night. While you’re catching those well-deserved Z’s, the thermophotovoltaics is doing its job with a 24/7 solar party (Nature).