|MadSci Network: Physics|
I’m not sure what you are asking, but I think I get the drift of your question. If I understand what you are saying, you are asking if you could focus light so as to get more energy out of a solar cell than you would get without the focusing. This is certainly possible, as increasing the radiant power density will increase the current and hence the power out of a solar cell. Solar power plants that use sunlight to heat a working fluid and drive a heat engine always, I think, use reflectors to concentrate the sunlight so that higher peak temperatures can be obtained. So you are right in thinking that focusing sunlight is useful in extracting energy from light. However, you refer to something you call “super energy”, and I don’t have a clue as to what that means. Energy is energy. It comes in lots of forms, but in every experiment ever done in the laboratory energy is always conserved. Every succesful physical theory that I know of conserves energy. Most theoretical physicists so strongly believe in this principle that when they cook up a new theory one of their first tests is to see if it conserves energy, if it doesn’t, they drop it and go on. Now, there are some wild and crazy physicists out there who talk about harnessing the non- zero vacuum energy which permeates space. Scientific American recently ran a feature on this work in the December ‘97 issue, “Exploiting Zero-Point Enegy”. My feeling from reading this is that this is fringe science, but this is just a gut feeling. Maybe there is something to this. Cosmologists who worry about how the universe got started from nothing are willing to trash energy conservation at the drop of a proposal.
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