Is building integrated solar close to a tipping point?


QDOTS imagesCAKXSY1K 8Cost and performance considerations have long held back the market for building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), but the steep drop in solar prices and the emergence of high-profile projects and EU policies are bringing new enthusiasm for incorporating it into building designs.

 

“We’re approaching a tipping point and at some point in the future, building integrated solar would be a must-have in the design of any new and significant building,” Mike Russell, managing director at Accenture, told Bloomberg.

Solar manufacturers, stung by diving prices, see BIPV as a way to offer a premium product that can provide strong margins. Architects see it as a way to incorporate distributed energy as part of the design process, rather than tacking on solar energy as an afterthought.

072613solar

 

 

 

Heightened interest in energy efficiency, the rise of net-zero energy buildings and breakthroughs in component design all help drive growth.

In Europe, architecture firm Norman Foster and clients see it as a way to “produce eye-catching buildings” that meet new regulations, Bloomberg reported. Western Europe is expected to start as the biggest BIPV market because of its policy requiring all new buildings to be net-zero energy starting in 2021.

“Building integrated solar in office buildings and factories which generate energy consistently during daylight hours, while not requiring additional expensive land space or unsightly installations, is seen as the most obvious energy solution,” Gavin Rezos, principal of Viaticus Capital Ltd., told Bloomberg. The corporate advisory company has invested private equity in BIPV technology.

Two examples of new buildings sporting BIPV features are the new football stadium being built for the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif., which has technology developed by BASF SE; and the new Bloomberg LP headquarters in London being designed by Foster + Partners, which includes solar that’s incorporated into the roof instead of just laying on top of it.

The 55,000-seat Kaohsiung World Stadium in Taiwan is also a great demonstration of this: close to 9,000 panels are integrated directly into the building’s skin.

The CIS Tower

The CIS Tower in Manchester, England.And one of the most mature and largest examples of BIPV design is the vertical solar façade on the CIS Tower in Manchester, England (pictured right), which uses technology from Solar Century Holdings Ltd.

There’s a bright future for BIPV. While it generated just $606 million in revenue in 2012, more than 4.6 gigawatts (GW) of BIPV will come online by 2017, driving $2.4 billion in revenue that year, says Pike Research.

BIPV costs 10 percent more than traditional rooftop solar, Alan South, chief innovation officer at Solar Century, told Bloomberg.

“At the moment, it’s much cheaper to install a conventional module unless your roof is an unusual shape — and expensive solar installed on unsuitable roofs is a decorative design feature, not an energy solution,” adds Jenny Chase, solar analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

One reason is all the extra components needed to support BIPV within the structural design.

“While the individual cells are discreet and easy to integrate, they require cabling and additional elements that need to be carefully incorporated,” David Nelson, head of design at Foster + Partners, told Bloomberg.

His firm is no stranger to green building innovation. It designed and constructed New York‘s Hearst Tower, the first LEED Gold office building in the city.

As the BIPV market matures, Solar Century is developing technology that can be blended into roof tiles and slates. In the United States, Dow Chemical is already selling solar roofing shingles in more than a dozen states.

Solar panel image by Dabarti CGI via Shutterstock. CIS Tower image by mattwi1s0n via Flickr.

Advertisements

Engineers Double Efficiency of Solar Film Cells


nanomanufacturing-6Engineers and materials scientists at University of California in Los Angeles improved the design of solar cells built in a thin semi-transparent film that nearly doubles their ability to generate power. A team from the lab of engineering professor Yang Yang described its findings online in Friday’s issue of the journal Energy and Environmental Science (free registration required).

Yang’s lab developed an earlier form of the solar cell with a near-infrared light-sensitive polymer. The cell produces energy by absorbing mainly infrared light, not visible light. The cell developed in that first round was 70 percent transparent, and achieved a power-generating efficiency of 4 percent.

The new version of the solar cell from Yang’s lab is a tandem device with two thin light-activated polymer solar cells that absorb more light than the single-cell version. The new device also combines transparent and semi-transparent polymer cells, and a layer between the two cells to reduce energy loss.

Tests conducted by Yang’s team show the tandem device achieves a conversion rate — percentage of energy from the sun converted to electric power — of 7.3 percent, compared to 4 percent in the earlier version. The new device captures up to 80 percent of infrared light, with a small amount of light from the visible spectrum, compared to about 40 percent of infrared light absorbed in the earlier single-cell version.

The process to generate the solar cells, say the researchers, uses low temperatures, which makes production of the cells more feasible. The cells can also be produced to appear in various shades of light gray, green, or brown to blend in with building exteriors, windows, or electronic surfaces.

“We anticipate this device,” says Yang, “will offer new directions for solar cells, including the creation of solar windows on homes and office buildings.”

Biological responses to nanoparticles are temperature-dependant


201306047919620(Nanowerk Spotlight) When nanoparticles enter the human  body, for instance as part of a nanomedicine application, they come into  immediate contact with a collection of biomolecules, such as proteins, that are  characteristic of that environment, e.g. blood. A protein may become associated  with the nanomaterial surface during a protein-nanomaterial interaction, in a  process called adsorption.

 

The layers of proteins adsorbed to the  surface of a nanomaterial at any given time is known as the protein  corona (read more in our previous Nanowerk Spotlight: “Proteins  interact with ‘ultrasmall’ nanomaterials in unique ways”).   This protein coronas form a new surface on the nanoparticle that  actually would be ‘seen’ by biological entities (e.g. cells) rather than the  pristine surface of the synthesized nanoparticle itself. This is the reason why  biological responses to nanoparticles are strongly dependent to the type and  amount of associated proteins in the composition of the protein corona.

The type and amount of proteins in the corona composition is  strongly dependent on several factors, including physicochemical properties of  nanoparticles; protein source; and protein concentration. However, the effect of  temperature on the corona composition has not been investigated so far.

In new work, reported in the July 1, 2013 online edition of  ACS Nano (“Temperature: The ‘Ignored’ Factor at the NanoBio  Interface”), researchers have conducted a comprehensive study to show the  significant effect of temperature on corona composition.

The multi-institutional team, led by Morteza Mahmoudi, a  professor at Tehran University of Medical Sciences, who heads the Laboratory of  Nano-Bio Interactions, and Wolfgang Parak, a professor at the University of  Marburg, who heads the Biophotonics Group, investigated the influence  of the exposure temperature, ranging from 5 to 45°C, on the formation and  composition of the protein corona on magnetic nanoparticles as well as  nanoparticle-cell interactions.            adsorbed proteins on the surface of a nanoparticle

 

The  results indicate that the degree of protein coverage and the composition of the  adsorbed proteins on the nanoparticles’ surface depend on the temperature at  which the protein corona is formed. (Reprinted with permission from American  Chemical Society)

“Our findings are very important for the in vivo application of nanoparticle to humans,” Morteza Mahmoudi, a researcher at the  Nanotechnology Research Center at Tehran University of Medical Sciences, and  first author of the paper, tells Nanowerk. “The mean body temperature for  different individuals is in the range from 35.8 to 37.2 °C. Furthermore the  temperature varies for different parts of the body and the body temperature of  females is influenced by their hormonal cycle.

During the sleep the body  temperature decreases and manual work could lead to an increase. This means that  the body temperature for healthy humans varies in the range from 35 to 39°C and  can find a maximum of 41°C in the case of fever.”   “We have shown that changes in the incubation temperature can  cause significant effects in protein corona formation and composition, although  this is not necessarily always the case,” he adds.

“Temperature effects for the  nanoparticles investigated by us were especially pronounced in the  physiologically highly relevant temperature window of 37-41°C.”   The team hypothesized that, if protein adsorption onto the  surface of nanoparticles depends on the body temperature, it may also result in  a significant effect on the cellular uptake of nanoparticles in vivo.  Therefore they also assessed the effect of the temperature-dependent corona  composition on cellular uptake. They found, though, that their experimental data  does not allow for deriving a sharp conclusion about the correlation between the  temperature-dependence of protein corona formation and nanoparticle uptake.

These findings indicate that one can expect to have different  corona composition and, consequently, various biological responses to  nanoparticles for specific sites – and specific situation – of the human body.   “Our findings suggest that studies on the formation of a protein  corona on nanoparticles should be carried out at well-controlled temperatures to  enable comparison and reproduction of results from different laboratories,” says  Parak.

“We expect our results to apply to other classes of nanoparticles, such  as fluorescent or plasmonic nanoparticles, with similar surface  functionalization, although we have not proved this yet experimentally.”   Furthermore, since the area of protein corona is still in its  infancy, future work could be focused on potential ways to regulate corona  composition in vivo.                        By Michael Berger. Copyright © Nanowerk

Read more: http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=31480.php#ixzz2aZVhgFoD

Printing Nanosilver onto Fibers for Flexible Wearable Electronics


QDOTS imagesCAKXSY1K 8(Nanowerk News) Scientists at the National Physical  Laboratory (NPL), the UK’s National Measurement Institute, have developed a way  to print silver directly onto fibres. This new technique could make integrating  electronics into all types of clothing simple and practical.

This has many  potential applications in sports, health, medicine, consumer electronics and  fashion. Most current plans for wearable electronics require weaving  conductive materials into fabrics, which offer limited flexibility and can only  be achieved when integrated into the design of the clothing from the start.  NPL’s technique could allow lightweight circuits to be printed directly onto  complete garments.

id31611
Smart  fabric connected to a power source conducting electrical charge through a LED.
Silver coated fibers created using this technique are flexible  and stretchable, meaning circuits can be easily printed onto many different  types of fabric, including wool which is knitted in tight loops.
The technique involves chemically bonding a nano-silver layer  onto individual fibers to a thickness of 20 nm. The conductive silver layer  fully encapsulates fibers and has good adhesion and excellent conductivity.
Chris Hunt, Project Lead, says: “The technique has many  potential applications. One particularly exciting area is wearable sensors and  antennas which could be used for monitoring, for example checking on patients  and vulnerable people; data capture and feedback for soldiers in the field; and  performance monitoring in sports. It offers particular benefits over the  ‘weaving in’ approach, as the conductive pattern and flexibility ensures that  sensors are always positioned in the same location on the body.”
The technique could also create opportunities in fashion and  consumer technology, such as incorporating LED lighting into clothing or having  touch-screens on shirt sleeves.
In addition, silver has antibacterial properties, opening up  opportunities for medical applications such as wound dressings, face masks, long  lasting anti-bacterial wipes, and military clothing.
Having successfully shown that the additive technique is viable  in the lab, NPL is now looking for funding or collaborators to develop a full  printed circuit on a textile, which can be tested for flexibility and  robustness, for example by putting it through the wash. Once this has been  successfully achieved, the scientists will then look to develop prototypes of  practical applications.
Further information can be found at: http://www.npl.co.uk/ei/smart-textiles
Source: National Physical Laboratory 

Read more: http://www.nanowerk.com/news2/newsid=31611.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanowerk%2FagWB+%28Nanowerk+Nanotechnology+News%29#ixzz2aZSWKMf4

Private investment in renewable energy eyed for reconstruction of quake-hit areas


nanomanufacturing-6Governors and business leaders in northern Japan have agreed on the need to attract private-sector investment in growth fields, such as the most advanced renewable energies, and to promote industrial development and local revitalization as part of efforts to rebuild regions hit hard by the March 2011 earthquake-tsunami disaster.

They shared the view at a meeting held in the city of Fukushima on Nov. 8 by a forum of governors from eight prefectures — Hokkaido, the six prefectures of Aomori, Akita, Iwate, Yamagata, Miyagi and Fukushima in the Tohoku district, and Niigata Prefecture — as well as regional business groups.

The participants discussed what is necessary to rebuild disaster-hit regions.

Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato told the session that the Fukushima prefectural government considers development of renewable energy sources to be a pillar of its reconstruction efforts.

Fukushima Prefecture will aim at taking the lead in the field of renewable energy development,” Sato said. “To that end, how to connect (the energy) with industries for industry accumulation is a pressing task,” he said.

Flotek Industries Announces Texas A&M Research Initiative on Nanotechnology and Unconventional Hydrocarbon Production


QDOTS imagesCAKXSY1K 8HOUSTON, July 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Flotek Industries, Inc. announced today sponsorship of applied research at Texas A&M University to investigate the impact of nanotechnology on oil and natural gas production in emerging, unconventional resource plays.

“With the acceleration of activity in oil and gas producing shales, a better understanding of the impact of various completion chemistries on tight formations with low porosity and permeability will be key to developing optimal completion techniques in the future,” said John Chisholm, Flotek’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “While we know Flotek’s Complex nano-Fluid chemistries have been successful in enhancing production in tight resource formations, we believe a more complete understanding of the interaction between our chemistries and geologic formations as well as a more precise comprehension of the physical properties and impact of our nanofluids in the completion process will significantly enhance the efficacy of the unconventional hydrocarbon completion process. This research continues our relationship with Texas A&M where we also are conducting research into acidizing applications in Enhanced Oil Recovery.”

Specifically, the research will focus its investigation on the oil recovery potential of complex nanofluids and select surfactants under subsurface pressure and temperature conditions of liquids-rich shales.

Dr. I. Yucel Akkutlu, Associate Professor of Petroleum Engineering in the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M University will serve as the principal investigator for the project. Dr. Akkutlu received his Masters and PhD in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Southern California. He has over a decade of postgraduate theoretical and experimental research experience in unconventional oil and gas recovery, enhanced oil recovery and reactive flow and transport in heterogeneous porous media. He has recently participated in industry-sponsored research on resource shales including analysis of microscopic data to better understand fluid storage and transport properties of organic-rich shales.

“As unconventional resource opportunities continue to grow in importance to hydrocarbon production, understanding ways to maximize recovery will be key to improving the efficacy of these projects,” said Dr. Akkutlu. “The key to enhancing recovery will be to best understand robust, new technologies and their impact on the completion process. Research into complex nanofluid chemistries to understand the physical properties and formation interactions will play an integral role in the future of completion design to optimize recovery from unconventional hydrocarbon resources.”

The research will commence immediately. Inquiries regarding the research should be directed to Flotek.

About Flotek Industries, Inc.

Flotek is a global developer and distributor of a portfolio of innovative oilfield technologies, including specialty chemicals and down-hole drilling and production equipment. It serves major and independent companies in the domestic and international oilfield service industry. Flotek Industries, Inc. is a publicly traded company headquartered in Houston, Texas, and its common shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “FTK.”

For additional information, please visit Flotek’s web site at www.flotekind.com.

 

SOURCE  Flotek Industries, Inc.

Renewable Energy Closing In On Natural Gas As Second-Largest Source Of Electricity Worldwide


Renewable energy will soon beat out natural gas as the second-largest source of electricity worldwide, according to projections from the International Energy Agency.

Electricity from solar, wind, hydropower and other renewable sources will increase by 40 percent in the next five years, making up about 25 percent of the world’s energy sources by 2018. Renewables will provide the second-largest amount of global electricity by 2016, topped only by coal, the number one supplier of electricity around the world. Today, hydropower dominates the renewable energy mix, supplying 80 percent of the world’s renewable electricity, but IEA projects non-hydro sources of renewable energy will double over the next five years, comprising about 8 percent of the world’s energy sources by 2018.

Lower costs are a major contributor to the spike in renewable energy — in many developing countries in Africa and Asia (and some developed ones, like Australia) renewables like wind are actually cheaper than coal. These costs are helping drive higher levels of investment in renewable energy from developing countries looking to meet rising energy demands. Reports published earlier this month found developing countries invested a total of $112 billion in renewable energy in 2012, an increase of 19 percent from the year before. China led the way in this area, upping its investment to $67 billion — an increase of nearly a quarter compared to 2011. The total invested by countries in the Middle East and Africa was much smaller — about $12 billion — but compared to 2011, their investment surged upward by 228 percent.

But renewable energy investment isn’t growing everywhere — it’s actually dropping off in developed nations. The IEA notes that despite the renewable sector’s rapid growth, worldwide subsidies for fossil fuels are still six times higher than subsidies for renewables (the U.S.’s spending reflects the world’s average — in 2011, U.S. fossil fuel subsidies were $523 billion, about six times higher than the $88 billion spent on renewable energy). President Obama pledged in his climate speech Tuesday to double the country’s wind and solar energy and to allow enough private renewable energy development on public lands to powqer 6 million homes by 2020. But governments in Europe, meanwhile, are cutting renewable energy subsidies as austerity measures take hold

Obama also addressed coal’s role in the U.S. energy mix on Tuesday, announcing he would be imposing limits on carbon emissions from existing coal-fired power plants in the U.S., as well as stopping government financing of coal plants overseas. Despite new investments in renewables, coal still dominates the energy market in developing countries like China and India. But its hold on the market may slowly be slipping. In a draft energy strategy statement, the World Bank revealed Thursday that it would be cutting back on the number of coal plants it finances, limiting its support to “rare circumstances where there are no feasible alternatives available to meet basic energy needs and other sources of financing are absent.”

Harvesting Energy From Carbon Dioxide Emissions


Energy: Device generates electricity from the entropy created when the greenhouse gas mixes with fresh air

An electrochemical cell could someday generate electricity from carbon dioxide emitted by power plants as the gas wafts into the atmosphere. Researchers demonstrate that the cell harvests energy released by the entropy created when CO2 mixes with fresh air (Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett. 2013, DOI: 10.1021/ez4000059). The device could help power plants increase electricity output without producing additional CO2.

1374683137833

Electricity From CO2            
 A new electrochemical cell generates electricity from carbon dioxide dissolved in water solutions. When dissolved, the gas forms carbonic acid (H2CO3), which then dissociates into H+ and HCO3 ions. These ions adsorb selectively onto one of the two electrodes (left and right), depending on the type of membrane on the electrode (yellow and red). This process generates a current between the electrodes.            Credit: Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett
Bert Hamelers of Wetsus, a research center focused on water treatment technology in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, and his team developed the new device based on one they created to tap energy released when seawater and freshwater mix. The previous cell consisted of electrodes coated with ion-exchange membranes. As seawater and freshwater flowed through the cell, the membranes absorbed and released sodium and chloride ions, creating a current.

Hamelers realized that the same cell design could harvest the energy released when two gases mix. To do so with CO2, the team first mixed it with a liquid, using either deionized water or a 0.25 M water solution of monoethanolamine (MEA), which is often used to remove CO2 from exhaust gases. In water, the CO2 forms carbonic acid, which then dissociates into H+ and HCO3 ions. These ions act like the sodium and chloride ions in the previous entropy-harvesting device. As the solution passes through the cell, ion-exchange membranes on the cell’s electrodes absorb the ions, H+ on one electrode and HCO3 on the other. This process produces current between the electrodes.

1374679811278 II

           
                       Mixing Gases            
To harvest energy from mixing CO2 and fresh air, researchers first must dissolve the gases in water solutions (CO2, right; air, left). The water then passes by membranes in an electrochemical cell (rectangular block in the middle) in alternating pulses. The cell generates electricity as ions in the solutions adsorb onto and desorb from the electrodes.    Credit: Bert Hamelers/Wetsus        
Then water with dissolved fresh air flushes through the cell. Since this water is mostly ion free, the membranes release the H+ and HCO3 ions into the water, producing current in the opposite direction as before. This now ion-laden water leaves the cell and gets flushed with air. The CO2 gas reforms and is then released. The fluidics system continually repeats this cycle, sending alternating pulses of the dissolved CO2 and dissolved air through the cell.

With the small-scale system the researchers built in their lab, they could harvest 24% of the energy released when they used deionized water and 32% when they used MEA. At its most efficient, the lab setup generates only milliwatts of power. But with a scaled-up system, the researchers calculate that power plants could produce megawatts of power using CO2 emissions. They estimate that flue gases from power plants worldwide contain enough CO2 to generate 850 TWh of energy every year.

But the system has a few obstacles to overcome before it can be used in such large-scale applications, the team and outside experts say. For example, impurities in a power plant’s flue gas, such as sulfur dioxide or nitrogen oxides, could foul the cell’s membranes. The immediate problem is getting CO2 emissions dissolved into a liquid upon exiting the stacks. With current technology, dissolving that much gas in liquid would require more energy than the researchers’ system could generate. So it will take more research to find the optimal process to dissolve CO2 using as little energy as possible, Hamelers says.

Still, the concept is “marvelous,” says Volker Presser of the Leibniz Institute for New Materials in Germany. Now the researchers “need to envision a system that can take up tonnes and tonnes of CO2,” over multiple cycles, he says. With such a system generating extra electricity, Presser says, coal plants could produce energy more efficiently, without emitting more CO2.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2013 American Chemical Society

When fluid dynamics mimic quantum mechanics


MIT researchers expand the range of quantum behaviors that can be replicated in fluidic systems, offering a new perspective on wave-particle duality.

Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office     July 29, 2013

When fluid dynamics mimic quantum mechanics

                            Image: Dan Harris  
When the waves are confined to a circular corral, they reflect back on themselves, producing complex patterns (grey ripples) that steer the droplet in an apparently random trajectory (white line). But in fact, the droplet’s motion follows statistical patterns determined by the wavelength of the waves.
In the early days of quantum physics, in an attempt to explain the wavelike behavior of quantum particles, the French physicist Louis de Broglie proposed what he called a “pilot wave” theory. According to de Broglie, moving particles — such as electrons, or the photons in a beam of light — are borne along on waves of some type, like driftwood on a tide.
Physicists’ inability to detect de Broglie’s posited waves led them, for the most part, to abandon pilot-wave theory. Recently, however, a real pilot-wave system has been discovered, in which a drop of fluid bounces across a vibrating fluid bath, propelled by waves produced by its own collisions.
In 2006, Yves Couder and Emmanuel Fort, physicists at Université Paris Diderot, used this system to reproduce one of the most famous experiments in quantum physics: the so-called “double-slit” experiment, in which particles are fired at a screen through a barrier with two holes in it.
In the latest issue of the journal Physical Review E (PRE), a team of MIT researchers, in collaboration with Couder and his colleagues, report that they have produced the fluidic analogue of another classic quantum experiment, in which electrons are confined to a circular “corral” by a ring of ions. In the new experiments, bouncing drops of fluid mimicked the electrons’ statistical behavior with remarkable accuracy.
“This hydrodynamic system is subtle, and extraordinarily rich in terms of mathematical modeling,” says John Bush, a professor of applied mathematics at MIT and corresponding author on the new paper. “It’s the first pilot-wave system discovered and gives insight into how rational quantum dynamics might work, were such a thing to exist.”
Joining Bush on the PRE paper are lead author Daniel Harris, a graduate student in mathematics at MIT; Couder and Fort; and Julien Moukhtar, also of Université Paris Diderot. In a separate pair of papers, appearing this month in the Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Bush and Jan Molacek, another MIT graduate student in mathematics, explain the fluid mechanics that underlie the system’s behavior.
Interference inference
The double-slit experiment is seminal because it offers the clearest demonstration of wave-particle duality: As the theoretical physicist Richard Feynman once put it, “Any other situation in quantum mechanics, it turns out, can always be explained by saying, ‘You remember the case of the experiment with the two holes? It’s the same thing.’”If a wave traveling on the surface of water strikes a barrier with two slits in it, two waves will emerge on the other side. Where the crests of those waves intersect, they form a larger wave; where a crest intersects with a trough, the fluid is still. A bank of pressure sensors struck by the waves would register an “interference pattern” — a series of alternating light and dark bands indicating where the waves reinforced or canceled each other.

Photons fired through a screen with two holes in it produce a similar interference pattern — even when they’re fired one at a time. That’s wave-particle duality: the mathematics of wave mechanics explains the statistical behavior of moving particles.
In the experiments reported in PRE, the researchers mounted a shallow tray with a circular depression in it on a vibrating stand. They filled the tray with a silicone oil and began vibrating it at a rate just below that required to produce surface waves.
They then dropped a single droplet of the same oil into the bath. The droplet bounced up and down, producing waves that pushed it along the surface.
The waves generated by the bouncing droplet reflected off the corral walls, confining the droplet within the circle and interfering with each other to create complicated patterns. As the droplet bounced off the waves, its motion appeared to be entirely random, but over time, it proved to favor certain regions of the bath over others.
It was found most frequently near the center of the circle, then, with slowly diminishing frequency, in concentric rings whose distance from each other was determined by the wavelength of the pilot wave.
The statistical description of the droplet’s location is analogous to that of an electron confined to a circular quantum corral and has a similar, wavelike form.
“It’s a great result,” says Paul Milewski, a math professor at the University of Bath, in England, who specializes in fluid mechanics. “Given the number of quantum-mechanical analogues of this mechanical system already shown, it’s not an enormous surprise that the corral experiment also behaves like quantum mechanics. But they’ve done an amazingly careful job, because it takes very accurate measurements over a very long time of this droplet bouncing to get this probability distribution.”
“If you have a system that is deterministic and is what we call in the business ‘chaotic,’ or sensitive to initial conditions, sensitive to perturbations, then it can behave probabilistically,” Milewski continues. “Experiments like this weren’t available to the giants of quantum mechanics. They also didn’t know anything about chaos.
Suppose these guys — who were puzzled by why the world behaves in this strange probabilistic way — actually had access to experiments like this and had the knowledge of chaos, would they have come up with an equivalent, deterministic theory of quantum mechanics, which is not the current one? That’s what I find exciting from the quantum perspective.”