If you think that solar panels and microneedles are the same thing, think again. They are not. Solar power can be used for a variety of different things such as drying clothes, cooking food and scanning electron images. Carbon nanotechnology is revolutionizing the way we do all sorts of things including solar energy.
A microneedle and a solar cell are similar in many ways. Both types of solar panel are made up of flat crystals with small holes or pores in them. The thin plastic films that make up solar cells trap solar energy. When sunlight hits a solar cell, electrons travel through the holes in the crystalline structure. The light energy knocks electrons loose in the crystalline structure and they, in turn, give off energy in the form of photons.
Researchers at Rice University and elsewhere have been developing new solar energy conversion systems using carbon nanotechnology. The new technique involves what is called “microneedle” technology. This technique uses microneedles of carbon that are attached to coated conductors that catch the incoming energy and convert it into heat. When combined with emerging technologies that enable carbon nanotechnology to capture and transform carbon dioxide, these two innovations will produce a powerful source of free energy.
Microneedles have the benefit of being extremely light and strong. They can be engineered to be thin, like the wafers on a pencil or even thicker like the plates of an inkjet printer. Because they have so many tiny holes in their surface area, microneedles can be made to have a thickness comparable to just a few layers of standard glass or metal. This means that the panels that use this lower-carbon cement will be even more efficient at converting the sun’s rays into electricity than conventional solar panels. In fact, by combining the efficiency of low-carbon cement with other technologies, such as advanced reflectors, it is possible to build sun-powered chemistry panels that can create a flow of free energy similar to that which is generated by wind turbines.
The second innovation has to do with virtual patients. One of the challenges of modern digital medicine is making sure that information about patients is accurate and up-to-date. A team from Rice University has developed a way to achieve this with what is called “spatial computing.” By putting together large databases of digital data, the researchers were able to create a digital “map” of digital patients’ medical histories. By viewing this digital map, virtual patients can view their location relative to the center’s infrastructure and to see the extent to which their disease may impact the system.
In another instance of utilizing the sun-powered cement technology for the diagnosis of disease, researchers at the University of Freiburg have developed what is called a digital pulmonary register. This particular device will be able to give doctors information about the amount of carbon dioxide in the patient’s blood as well as the oxygen saturation. Because the presence of carbon monoxide is associated with an increased risk of mortality, doctors want to be able to assess the patient’s risk factors before proceeding with the right treatment options. By combining high-energy light with high-energy radiation, this new device hopes to improve upon the existing digital medicine tools.
Perhaps the most exciting of these emerging technologies deals with the development of tiny needles which are injected into your skin. These tiny needles would send ultra-violet laser pulses along the surface of your skin, which in turn stimulated the area. In general, many of the existing painless injections we have today take a long time to work, but these new systems promise to deliver results in just minutes. Currently these treatments are being used to treat arthritic pain and other chronic pain. But the potential for them goes far beyond that. They could make it possible to deliver drugs directly into the brain, which means that you won’t have to endure the hassles of administering the drugs intravenously, which in turn means that you will be able to enjoy more pain relief than ever before.
So what are these amazing new microneedles going to look like? Currently these systems are being developed for clinical trials. If they prove to be highly effective, this technology could soon revolutionize pain management in all areas. It is also possible that these microneedles will be used to deliver carbon emissions, which could reduce the overall carbon emissions in our environment.