Researchers from the University of Singapore have devised a way to use shadows to produce electricity. The intriguing fact about this discovery is that the researchers used indoor lighting conditions to exercise an, often unnoticed, optical phenomenon to produce green energy. The NUS’s Department of Material Science and Engineering and Department of Physics have worked in synchronization and invented the shadow-effect energy generator, also known as the SEG. This device uses the difference between the lit and unlit part of a surface to generate electricity or energy. Shadows are typically deemed worthless and disruptors in devices that use light to function, such as the orthodox camera like devices which used photovoltaic or optoelectronic applications. The researchers meticulously worked on the contrast in the illumination of a surface. The contrast creates a voltage difference, which is then used to create an electric current.
Professor Andrew Wee, Co-team leader from the NUS Department of Physics, said, “When the whole SEG cell is under illumination or in shadow, the amount of electricity generated is very low or none at all. When a part of the SEG cell is illuminated, a significant electrical output is detected. We also found that the optimum surface area for electricity generation is when half of the SEG cell is illuminated and the other half in shadow, as this gives enough area for charge generation and collection, respectively.” By this statement, he attempted to show that they have optimized the results of creating maximum energy using the SEG device.
Self-powered sensors and a lot of other such researches are under study by the team of six researchers. They are aiming at delivering a product using this new technology to reduce the cost of production and processing, thereby attempting to make the device economically viable.