MIT researchers have developed a two-dimensional metallic, dielectric photonic crystal that is close to being the ultimate material for solar absorption. The material can absorb sunlight from numerous angles and can survive in extremely high temperatures.
The material was incorporated into a solar-thermophotovoltaic (STPV) device. This device converts the sun’s energy into heat, causing the material to glow and produce a light that can be converted into an electrical current. Two other benefits of this new material are that it is inexpensive to produce and is very compatible to current manufacturing technology.