Imagine cells powered by light that are so small they are 200 hundred times thinner than a human hair! Imagine these solar cells are used to power devices in your body. The Harvard team of ‘smarty-pants’ even figure that this technology will be very useful in monitoring bioterrorism. The mind boggles!
Charles Lieber heads the Harvard team and has been searching for a way to power ultramicroscopic technology. Enter the ‘nanowire’.
The nanowire is not made of metal but of silicon with three different types of conductivity arranged as layered shells. Incoming light generates electrons in the outer shell, which are then swept into the second layer and the inner core along micropores. These “holes,” as they are called, carry an equal, but opposite, charge as electrons, meaning that the two particles move in opposite directions in the presence of an electric field. “The electrically connected core and cladding” — a kind of sheath — “play the same role as the ‘+’ and ‘-‘ termini of a battery,” Lieber said.
This will make wearing and living with devices easier and less obtrusive. We may really become 6 million dollar humans someday.