On June 10, 2021, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have discovered a new way of generating electricity using tiny carbon particles.
These tiny carbon particles can create a current simply by interacting with liquid surrounding them.
The liquid, an organic solvent, draws electrons out of the particles, generating a current that could be used to drive chemical reactions or to power micro-or nanoscale robots.
The new discovery grew out of Strano’s (a senior researcher) research on carbon nanotubes.
How Electricity is generated?
In 2010, researchers demonstrated that carbon nanotubes can generate ‘thermo-power waves’.
When a carbon nanotube is coated with layer of fuel, moving pulses of heat, or thermos-power waves, travel along the tube, creating an electric current.
Later they found that when part of a nanotube is coated with a Teflon-like polymer, it creates an asymmetry that makes it possible for electrons to flow from the coated to the uncoated part of the tube, generating an electric current.
Those electrons can be drawn out by submerging the particles in a solvent.
By grinding up nanotubes and dipping them in special solvent, it is possible to generate enough current to run important electrochemical reactions.
Applications – It could be used to power micro-or nanoscale robots.
It can also be used in electronic devices, cathode ray tubes, hydrogen storage cells and Nano-medicine application.