|MadSci Network: Engineering|
Jonathon, The short answer to your question is "No". The reason is that you have presented a design for a perpetual motion machine in which energy (e.g., light amplification) gets created from nothing. Science has proven that perpetual motion machines are an impossibility and even the US Patent Office has declared that PMMs will not be considered. The technical reason is that light loses some of its energy each time it bounces (i.e., some of the light gets absorbed by the mirror and the air in the box). Because of the loss, the light cannot "amplify". Amplification always requires one to add energy. On a more technical note, what you describe is akin to a laser. Lasers operate on the principle that light can be amplified by beaming it into a solid, liquid, gas, or plasma with a mirror at both ends. The matter in between is designed to be excited by the wavelength of the light which then emits light of the same wavelength, etc., etc. As the light passes through the matter and bounces off of the mirror on the other end, it increases (amplifies). The light exits through a small hole in one of the mirrors creating a very high intensity laser "beam". Usually all of the light exiting the laser is of one wavelength (i.e., color) and in-phase. The high energy density is attributed to Light Amplification through Stimulated Emission of Radiation (or LASER, for short - did you know that was the acronym?). Unfortunately, there is always a source of energy that fuels the amplification. I'd encourage you to look at Laser's though, for they are fascinating machines. This is all not to say that your idea of improving the efficiency of Solar Cells could not be accomplished by utilizing light energy that is initially rejected by solar cells. I would think that looking at the profile of what light is rejected and how it could be used to improve efficiency. We know that mirrors can be used to focus more light onto solar cells to increase power output, but at the expense of more area covered by mirrors. In particular, you might look at the sensitivity of solar cells to wavelength, since the sun contains all wavelengths and there may be some that are not utilized as well in typical solar cell structures. Good luck with your endeavors. You may email directly at email@example.com with any further questions. Todd Jamison
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