This question is a repeat of another post on the physics board

Here and here show the possibility to combine photons of lower energy to higher energy. Thinking of an application, it could be used to dissipate heat from a laptop. A liquid cooling device could collect heat from a heat sink, then the device makes infrared photons with the heat and sends photons to an "upconversion" device. This device combines infrared into visible light photons and illuminates a conventional solar cell.

One would think of using a thermoelectric generator which still needs to dissipate heat. However, by imagination could "upconversion" package waste heat collected and turn it into light? My sentences may appear rudimentary as they are just ideas.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ That sounds like a lot of low efficiency steps cascaded for even lower efficiency to turn low grade waste heat into anything. Efficiency and output matter, $\endgroup$ – DKNguyen Apr 7 at 21:29
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Agree with @DKNguyen, converting energy into 3 other different forms of energy (heat - photons - higher energy photons - electricity) to try to get something out of it seems like an unlikely way to gather waste heat. $\endgroup$ – Tiger Guy Apr 8 at 1:02

The second law of thermodynamics states that entropy(think heat) of a system only increases. Reversing entropy and perpetual motion machines are specifically ignored by the United States Patent Office because it is impossible for them to work per the second law of thermodynamics. The USPO does not review patents involving perpetual motion and will automatically discharge them without review. So the textbook answer is no. That's why your question was closed by the physics SE group.

There are some leading edge research papers on LEDs however that claim to reverse entropy. Based on my own studies it also may be possible to extract energy from Brownian motion. However these examples are just wishful thinking until proven on a macro scale. It is no small matter to defeat a law of physics, even in a special case.

The applications of such a break through would be much larger than cooling a laptop. It would fundamentally change power production, and the laws of physics.

  • $\begingroup$ So you think the rudimentary idea of mine went against 2nd law of thermo.... alright. $\endgroup$ – Kav Apr 8 at 3:09
  • $\begingroup$ Potentially if you can identify the cold reservoir in your system (such as the solar panel), it may follow the second law. Efficiency will be limited based on the temperature differential per Carnot. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnot%27s_theorem_(thermodynamics) $\endgroup$ – ericnutsch Apr 8 at 3:21
  • $\begingroup$ Not saying your idea is not possible. Just explaining why everyone will give you a textbook "No". $\endgroup$ – ericnutsch Apr 8 at 3:22
  • $\begingroup$ @ericnutsch What do you mean by "banned"? If it's impossible, its impossible. Why ban it because of its impossibility? I really don't understand this. $\endgroup$ – Samid Apr 8 at 4:06
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Samid, Sorry lazy wording. The USPO does not review patents involving perpetual motion and will automatically discharge them without review. Basically they don't want to waste there time. Might be possible, but again plan on additional hurdles. Haven't read on it in years, but here are some links. uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/s2104.html ipwatchdog.com/2011/10/11/the-patent-law-of-perpetual-motion/… $\endgroup$ – ericnutsch Apr 8 at 5:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.