First identied thousands of years ago, electricity is now fundamental to our everyday lives. The entire world runs on an electric current. But using all this juice has an impact, both on our pockets and the environment.
So scientists are using Diamond to try to drastically reduce the amount of electricity we use to power our technology. What if you only had to charge your phone once a month, or if every PC in every office around the world could work without being plugged into the mains?
Every time you click on a website, watch a movie on your laptop or listen to a song on your phone, the gadget is reading a binary code. Technology uses magnets to track the series of 1s and 0s and translate them into an action, such as opening up Facebook or firing off a tweet. But this little magnet needs a lot of power to function; that’s why you have to charge your tech and top up the battery.
Scientists believe that there may be ways to reduce the amount of electricity those little tracking magnets use. Diamond’s nanoscience beamline, I06, produces a very precise, narrow beam; this allows scientists to focus the light into a space only a few microns wide. Using a technique called nano-spectroscopy, scientists can look into important materials and examine the dierent layers that make up a substance on an atomic level.
With nano-spectroscopy, scientists are looking to uncover more about magnetic materials and what makes the magnets in our gadgets work. By studying the properties of these tiny magnets, the teams at Diamond hope to develop more efficient materials that require less electrical power to read and write the binary code.
Discovering the hidden properties of dierent materials is the key to developing technology that is more energy efficient. We may not be able to wave goodbye to power-hungry technology any time soon but, by uncovering new ways to power our phones and computers, synchrotron light could be the spark that sets off the next generation of energy-efficient gadgets.