Dave, Of course, we have known about "dark current" and photocathodes
for almost 100 years, and also thermionic emissions are not new - but
here is the novelty. Fu set up magnets so that the field lines were
arranged to steer electrons in a way like MHD ... so that resulting
polarity separated making current available "for free". No added heat is
required, resulting is usable electric power from ambient. Not much
power is seen, but OTOH there was zero added heat.
Has that been done before? Is this scale-able to higher levels?
David Roberson wrote:
Looks likethis experiment demonstrates a process which converts heat
energy into electrical energy. This has already been observed when
thermal radiation is emitted by a warm body. Also, electrical energy
can be captured from a resistor surrounded by a heat sink.
I am not sure why the report you refer to claims to be a first.
In the disclosed Maxwell's demon type of experiment from 2012, heat from
ambient air was converted completely into electric energy, using a
static magnetic field without producing any other effect.
The phenomenon proves clearly that the second law of thermodynamics is
not universally valid, even though the output was tiny.
"Realization of Maxwell’s Hypothesis" A heat-electric conversion in
contradiction to Kelvin’s statement by Xinyong Fu, Zitao Fu Shanghai
Jiao Tong University