Swedish Scientists Have Discovered a Molecule That Can Absorb and Store Solar Energy

Scientists in Sweden have discovered a molecule that can capture and store the sun's energy | Image for representation

Scientists in Sweden have discovered a molecule that can capture and store the sun’s energy | Image for representation

Giving an insight about the study, Bo Durbeej, the lead researcher at Linköping University, said, ‘Our molecule can take on two different forms’.

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  • Last Updated: September 1, 2020, 8:17 PM IST

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A new research has made a rather astonishing revelation. The researchers at Linköping University, Sweden, have developed a new type of molecule. If the experts are to be believed, this molecule will have the ability to capture solar energy efficiently and store it for later consumption.

According to a report published in Nanowerk, this molecule can absorb energy from sunlight and store it in chemical bonds. The findings of this study have been published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.


Giving an insight about the study, Bo Durbeej, the lead researcher and professor of computational physics in the Department of Physics, Chemistry, and Biology at Linköping University, said, “Our molecule can take on two different forms: a parent form that can absorb energy from sunlight, and an alternative form in which the structure of the parent form has been changed and become much more energy-rich while remaining stable. This makes it possible to store the energy in sunlight in the molecule efficiently”.

The study reveals that the Earth gets more energy from the Sun in comparison to our ability to utilise it. This solar energy is absorbed by various instruments and devices. However, the challenge remains in storing this energy efficiently.

The said molecule belongs to a group named “molecular photoswitches”. These types of molecules are available in two different forms, each form having different properties. The chemical structures of all photoswitches are influenced by light energy. This means that the structure and the properties of a photoswitch can be changed by lighting it.

In order to store big amounts of solar energy in the molecule, the experts have tried different mechanisms. The parent form of the molecule is quite stable.

Bo Durbeej added that while most chemical reactions start in a condition where a molecule has high energy and subsequently passes to one with low energy, this molecule processes differently. The molecule eventually has low energy and subsequently changes to one with high energy.


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