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Researcher turns glass into a transparent power generator

Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) have transformed a glass into an electricity generator. The research could form the basis for energy generation technologies that could be integrated into windows, as the EPFL announced on Monday.

To do this, the researchers irradiated tellurite glass with a so-called femtosecond laser. This is a laser that emits light pulses with a duration in the femtosecond range, i.e. lasting only a few quadrillionths of a second.

This created patterns on the surface of the glass that are photoconductive, meaning they can convert light into electrical energy. When light passes through this glass, electricity is generated. This conversion of light into electricity remained stable for months, as the researchers reported in the journal "Physical Review Applied".

"Essentially, we are transforming materials into something else, perhaps approaching the alchemists' dream," study leader Yves Bellouard was quoted as saying in the EPFL press release. "The interesting thing about this technique is that no additional materials are needed for the process," the researcher continued.

©Keystone/SDA

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