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Radiation + Heat

  1. Sep 2, 2008 #1
    i was wondering since radiation is a form of light if it could be converted into electricity using a photovoltaic power cell.

    also i was wondering if anyone has heard of or made a more efficient thermocouple
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 2, 2008 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Is one referring to infrared radiation? In that case, the energy the energy levels are below the energies of visible light so a photovoltaic would not help. Thermoelectrics are use to convert thermal energy to electricity, but the voltage is low compared to a standard light bulb that one would use in the house.

    Or is one referring to higher energy radiation, e.g. UV, X-ray, or gamma?

    The problem with incandescent lights is that they are notoriously inefficient in terms of converting the electrical energy into light. Compact fluroescent lights are more efficient.
  4. Sep 2, 2008 #3
    i was refering to the type and levels of radiation given off by nuclear fission. if photovoltaic cells are ineffective are there any known ways of capturing this radiation and converting it to electricity or something else
  5. Sep 4, 2008 #4
    Nuclear radioation comes in three flavors: electrons, protons (He nuclei) and gamma radiation. The latter is EM, but it is of such low frequency that is highly penetrant, basically because its high energy would require an extra big conduction gap on a photovoltaic semiconductor. Gamma ray does not promote electrons to conduction bands, but it will directly break bonds, causing damage.
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