An international team of researchers from France and Sweden designed a new concept of an energy harvesting engine based on spintronics and quantum thermodynamics. The basic idea is to use electron spin to harvest thermal fluctuations at room temperature.

Spin-polarized energy landscape of the spin-engine photo

The researchers make use of the fact that paramagnetic centers, or atom-level magnets, fluctuate their spin orientation due to heat. In the so called spin-engine, the a spontaneous bias voltage V appears between the electrodes, and thus a spontaneous current flows once the electrical circuit is closed.

There are still many challenges to create such devices (the team made some initial experiments) - but the researchers say that this concept could create chips that continuously produce electrical power with a power density that is 3x greater than raw solar irradiation on Earth.

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