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Development of new nanocrystal materials

  1. Jan 12, 2013 #1
    I was reading about the development of new nanocrystal materials which could allow heat to be manipulated in the same way we now do with light:

    http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2013/how-to-treat-heat-like-light-0111.html

    What shall we call this approach? Thermoptics?

    I'm not sure from reading the article whether this will allow us to surpass the limits and constraints of Carnot's Law, or whether this stuff can only function within those limits. It seems to me the article implies that we can surpass the Carnot limits.

    What could this be used to improve, and how?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 12, 2013 #2
    Re: Thermoptics?

    I don't think that heat is the right word, and it is a bit sensationalist. What they have are phonons that they prepared somehow. I would guess calling their phonons heat is akin to calling a Laser thermal radiation.

    If you have proper statistical temperature, then equilibrium thermodynamics can be applied, but without knowing details I doubt that this is the case here. You don't realize what beating the actual Carnot limit would imply. This would be akin to puzzles self assembling and paintings painting themselves. It is truly impossible.
     
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