The latest issue of the research magazine "Pictures of the Future" features a report on how this is to be achieved. Sunlight is collected by “sollectors” on the roof and fed into waveguides, which run throughout the building.
The waveguides emerge from the room ceilings, where they supply a special light that provides additional artificial lighting from light-emitting diodes (LEDs) if needed. The Siemens subsidiary Osram and its partners are building the prototype of such an LED light.
This direct utilization of sunlight is highly efficient. Between 50 and 70 percent of the captured light supplements the room lighting. In contrast, if you use the light to produce solar energy which is then used to power a conventional lamp, the light energy generated is only a few percent of the amount of energy originally collected.
The sollector is a square plate measuring just over half a meter on each side. A total of 900 lenses collect the sunlight and feed it into fiber optic cables. Ultraviolet radiation, which is damaging to the skin, and the infrared component, which heats up rooms, are filtered out. In strong sunlight, a sollector can supply a room with light equivalent to that produced by a dozen 60-watt light bulbs. The device was developed at the Georg Simon Ohm University of Applied Sciences in Nuremberg, Germany, and a startup founded by the university is already marketing the technology.
The LED version is now being produced in collaboration with Osram. The light from the fiber optic cables makes a flat lamp light up. The light from white LEDs is also directed onto the flat surface. Special sensors, which are adjusted in line with the light sensitivity of humans, register the point at which additional artificial light is needed. The spectral composition of natural light changes during the course of a day, so the color of the white LED light is varied depending on the time of day. Red light is added in the morning and evening, and the amount of blue is increased during the daytime.
Sollectors utilize only direct sunlight, not the diffuse radiation from an overcast sky, so it pays to use them in sunny regions in particular. Building inhabitants in such locations block the sun from entering the interior to keep rooms from becoming too warm and turn on the lights instead. In the future they may be able to capture sunlight and guide the brightness — without any warming infrared radiation — to where it is needed.
Dr. Norbert Aschenbrenner | Siemens ResearchNews
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Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
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For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
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