More research needed but they say they’ve found a way to make solar power cheap by taking advantage of light’s weak magnetic effect. Aside from the interesting technical aspects, this appears to be a genuine paradigm-shift moment:
In the process, they overturned a century-old tenet of physics.
“You could stare at the equations of motion all day and you will not see this possibility. We’ve all been taught that this doesn’t happen,” said Rand, an author of a paper on the work published in the Journal of Applied Physics. “It’s a very odd interaction. That’s why it’s been overlooked for more than 100 years.”
Light has electric and magnetic components. Until now, scientists thought the effects of the magnetic field were so weak that they could be ignored. What Rand and his colleagues found is that at the right intensity, when light is traveling through a material that does not conduct electricity, the light field can generate magnetic effects that are 100 million times stronger than previously expected.
There are facts right beneath what we think we know that could be very important. All the more reason to have a Manhattan Project for Renewable Energy.