A Swiss university has manufactured tiny lab-grown diamonds which may eventually enable us to recharge consumer drones mid-air using lasers.
Researchers from Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (The University of Lausanne) have developed the technology using diamonds that are just a couple of millimetres in length. The project is being worked on by the Swiss University offshoot, LakeDiamond. The innovation has potential applications ranging from recharging photovoltaic cells installed on drones and beaming data to satellites in orbit. The second application has helped this project receive funding from the Swiss Space Office.
How does it work?
Much like when you angle a magnifying glass in the right way, you can concentrate the power of sunshine to light things on fire, when laser light passes through a diamond its strength is concentrated and it can travel much further distances than would normally have been possible. Although the lasers can travel very long distances and is apparently as powerful as 10,000 laser pointers combined, they pose no threat to human health (they will not harm your eyes or skin).
This project has been in development for a full decade. The lab-grown diamonds include high-transparency and thermal conductivity.
A few months ago, we brought you a story about how the military was working on a project to use lasers to help UAVs fly indefinitely The difference here is that the technology developed from the Swiss researchers could extend to the consumer market.