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Left to right: Graduate student Cédric Viry, Professor Jeffrey Grossman, and postdoc Grace Han, along with their collaborators, are using specially designed “photoswitching” molecules to control the release of heat from materials used to store thermal energy in devices ranging from solar concentrators and solar cookers to heated seats in vehicles.

Saving heat until you need it

A new concept for thermal energy storage involves a material that absorbs heat as it melts and releases it as it resolidifies — but only when triggered by light.

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