The oldest Nobel Prize winner, Arthur Ashkin, values comfort more than style. He spent a lot of time transforming the basement of his home in New Jersey into a real laboratory. There, the 96-year-old inventor spends long hours perfecting a new solar energy processing device .
According to Ashkin, his invention produces inexpensive electricity. It uses simple geometry and optics to capture and redirect sunlight. The bottom line is the reflective properties of concentrator tubes, the use of which can make existing solar panels much more efficient. The scientist has already calculated how much his technology is cheaper, and has his eye on another prize.
In fact, Ashkin’s fascination with light has already managed to save a huge number of lives. In 2018, he was awarded for inventing a technology called “optical tweezers”, which is a laser beam to capture very small objects and particles. These tweezers are able to hold and deform DNA for further study. The technique helped biologists develop a specific blood test for malaria and understand how cholesterol-lowering drugs soften red blood cells.
When the scientist left the laboratory where he worked, he took with him almost all the equipment used in the development of the tweezers. Every day he stands over the equipment for hours, goes up and down the stairs dozens of times. His basement is bursting at the seams with the amount of reflective material and film stacked in the corners. Ashkin has already filed for a patent (it must be said, already the 48th on his account), but says that he is not yet ready to share with the public photos of the hub he created.
“These pipes are very cheap. They cost only a penny and can save the world,” says Arthur Ashkin.
The inventor promises that he will soon present the results of research in the journal Science. He is confident that once the technology finds its way, it will spread around the world from New Jersey to India and take over not only the domestic but also the industrial sector, providing it with low-cost, environmentally friendly renewable energy.
Solar concentrators are becoming an increasingly common alternative to traditional solar panels. Earlier it was reported about the creation of solar systems of a concentrating type from plastic pipes from the Austrian company HELIOVIS, which was successfully tested in 2017 in Spain.