It is refreshing to see some positive news these days. Physicists from the University of Arkansas have "been able to draw power from the thermal motion of graphene...
At room temperature!
This could quickly go on to power many small devices very quickly. Perhaps things like your watches and other small devices. In theory it could be scaled up in cells and perhaps move onto larger production of energy. That part is my own speculation and day dreaming about the possibilities. I just hope they actually do something with it. I've been following different energy sources for decades and they usually are announced and silently disappear over time. I am hoping this time will be different.
Scientists have been able to draw power from the thermal motion of graphene at room temperature, potentially giving us a clean future source of limitless energy for small devices.
The approach cleverly harnesses both the nanometre-sized rippling and the Brownian motion - random movement of particles - found in graphene, producing an electric current that could be put to a variety of uses.
There are still interesting questions that have arisen from studying the motion itself. This is common with scientific endeavors. As we seek answers to questions we often may come up with some answers but in the process it is very common to end up with more questions.
"The origin of these nanometre-sized ripples is still an open question," the team writes in their study, noting that the graphene ripple seems to stem from subatomic particle interactions in the material.
The Team's study: Fluctuation-induced current from freestanding graphene
Where my mind runs with this...
My mind keeps returning to memories in my youth when calculators started appearing with little solar cells on them and it was amazing you never had to put batteries in them again. This trend continued into more and more devices. Today the solar cells are much more efficient and this more common and not as exciting a thing.
(Image from ebay: 1970s Casio SL-803 Solar Calculator Handheld)
I see this Brownian Motion based power source as following a similar trend though it can also potentially be used to power extremely tiny things. Micro machinery perhaps?
It is early. Assuming this survives and makes it into production this could cause some interesting changes in our world.