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PopSci: Alum leads energy revolution

Palm-tree inspired blades for wind turbines earned Eric Loth (PhD Aero '88) a spot on Popular Science's list of 12 "brilliant minds behind the new energy revolution."| Short Read

Palm-tree inspired blades for wind turbines earned Eric Loth (PhD Aero ’88) a spot on Popular Science’s list of 12 “brilliant minds behind the new energy revolution.”

The blades would be placed on the downwind side of a wind turbine. A hinge near the rotor allows the blades to fold back, as if bowed by the wind. This enables extremely long blades that capture low-speed wind energy very efficiently without spinning the rotor at damaging speeds during high winds.

Loth says that the idea began with his research at U-M.

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The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

Mapping quantum structures with light to unlock their capabilities

Rather than installing new “2D” semiconductors in devices to see what they can do, this new method puts them through their paces with lasers and light detectors. | Medium Read