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Manipulating Heat Like Light 82

An anonymous reader writes "A new technique allows allows 'thermocrystals' to be created that can manipulate heat (a vibration of the atomic lattice of a material). Predicted manipulations include the ability to selectively transmit, reflect or concentrate heat much like light waves can be manipulated by lenses and mirrors. 'Heat differs from sound, he explains, in the frequency of its vibrations: Sound waves consist of lower frequencies (up to the kilohertz range, or thousands of vibrations per second), while heat arises from higher frequencies (in the terahertz range, or trillions of vibrations per second).' Applications range from better thermoelectric devices to switchable heat insulating/transmitting materials (abstract). Perhaps this will result in better cooling/heating mechanisms or more efficient engines."
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Manipulating Heat Like Light

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 11, 2013 @07:21PM (#42563175)

    Maxwell's Demon?

  • by snadrus ( 930168 ) on Friday January 11, 2013 @07:37PM (#42563283) Homepage Journal
    How did this one get missed? Fusion's biggest problem is heat management.
    Thermal Diodes: Hook this to a solar collecting sterling engine for a considerable performance boost.
    That sounds like passive Heating & Air conditioning. Maybe society will use technology to reduce its power consumption overall.
  • Re:Keep Wondering. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 11, 2013 @10:39PM (#42564647)

    Blackbody radiation isn't from exciting electrons and seeing them decay back to ground-state. That would make blackbody radiation far from smooth and continuous. Instead it is due to the acceleration of charged particles which causes them to emit electromagnetic radiation, which works even with plasma or a soup of pure electrons. It also allows blackbody radiation to go to energies much higher or much lower than what you can find atomic transitions for.

    That said, IR can be a component of heat, as can any part of the spectrum depending on the temperatures dealing with, as heat is the energy transferred between bodies. In some cases that is done by irradiation, other times it is done by conduction which would be driven by vibration and motion of atoms. Internal energy of most thermal systems, on the other hand, is pretty much all vibration or motion though.

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