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Thermal diodes set stage for heat-powered devices

Apr 20, 2017, 4:32 AM EDT
(Source: Hillary/flickr)
(Source: Hillary/flickr)

A team of engineers at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln have created a thermal diode that can use heat as an alternate source of energy to power computers, keeping them functional even at ultra-high temperatures.

The application of heat, a byproduct of electricity, as a power source could be the first step towards developing “thermal computers,” which could be sent for space explorations, oil drilling and many other applications that involve extreme temperature operation, writes Nebraska Today.

Unlike previous research that revolved around finding the ways to cool down computing devices by dissipating heat, the latest work emphasizes on harnessing this energy to run computer systems.

The development also shows an efficient way for channelizing an often overlooked carrier of energy, heat, which usually gets wasted eventually catapulting the cost of energy, notes New Atlas.

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