Trap­ping heat waves

Down to Earth - - SCIENCE -

THERE IS a grow­ing in­ter­est in ma­te­ri­als that can con­vert waste heat to elec­tric­ity. For this, it is im­por­tant to find ways of con­trol­ling heat. Re­cent re­search shows that heat has pack­ets of energy (phonons) and can be ma­nip­u­lated through in­ter­fer­ence just like light, sound and elec­tric­ity waves. Till now, it has been pos­si­ble to con­trol heat trans­port only through the in­tro­duc­tion of im­pu­ri­ties or in­ter­faces. Con­trol­ling heat could help cap­ture waste heat from au­to­mo­bile ex­hausts or in­dus­trial pro­cesses to pro­duce elec­tric­ity. Na­ture Ma­te­ri­als, June 23

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