Most portable electronic devices need to be charged periodically. Typically, this means plugging them into an electrical source--and being patient. Imagine how convenient it would be if you could just slip that cell phone into your pocket and have it charge every time you went out into the sun.
Jinsong Huang, assistant professor of mechanical and materials engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, believes that day will come, and he is working to ensure it happens sooner rather than later.
"We really need to increase the availability of renewable energy sources," says the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded scientist. "Fossil fuels are finite, and they aren't good for the environment. We have a never-ending supply of solar energy, which is abundant, free and clean, but we have to use it in ways that are more efficient and more affordable than what is currently available."
His research goal is to ensure that almost any surface, including windows, walls, even computer bags and clothing, will be specially treated and have the ability to tap into the power of the sun, providing energy that is just as efficient and much less expensive than the solar panels in use today.