Lasers etch a ‘perfect’ solar energy absorber

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Using femto-second lasers to etch metallic structures, University of Rochester Institute of Optics professor Chunlei Guo and his team have developed a technique that can be used to collect sunlight to heat etched metal surfaces, which can then power an electrical generator for solar power. Credit: J. Adam Fenster/University of Rochester

The University of Rochester research lab that recently used lasers to create unsinkable metallic structures has now demonstrated how the same technology could be used to create highly efficient solar power generators.

In a paper in Light: Science & Applications, the lab of Chunlei Guo, professor of optics also affiliated with Physics and the Material Sciences Program, describes using powerful femto-second laser pulses to etch metal surfaces with nanoscale structures that selectively absorb light only at the solar wavelengths, but not elsewhere.

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