Airdate: Jan 23, 2019
Scientist: Paul Westerhoff
With the help of nanotechnology, you can transform a powdered donut into a truly enlightening experience.
Solar DonutsWith the help of nanotechnology, you can turn a powdered donut into a truly enlightening experience. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Westerhoff: So white powder doughnuts people will put both sugar and Titanium Dioxide together. It makes a unique texture and the sweetness. About a third of every particle is at the nano scale. So it makes it white, it doesn't clump together when you bite into it. So you can take one property of this texture and use this other property of how it behaves in sunlight to actually generate electrons. There's actually a really cool YouTube video where you can remove the white powder, which is titanium dioxide, off a donut and make a solar cell out of it. And it only happens because it's a nanoscale material. Paul Westerhoff is the Vice Dean for Research and Innovation in Engineering at Arizona State University. I asked him if there are any risks of ingesting Titanium Dioxide nanoparticles.Westerhoff: We've actually calculated every person eats about five milligrams of nano-scale titanium dioxide today. When we ingest it, it doesn't change into anythingTitanium dioxide generally moves through our body. And then it leaves us and goes down the sewer and goes to a wastewater treatment plant. So it just keeps moving through the engineered urban systems that we all live in. So ultimately, this stuff will end up in landfills, bottom of rivers or in an ocean.Over the last decade, there's been a lot of work looking at algae, bacteria, fish, people, and the general consensus is that the concentrations are so low they won't damage the ecosystem. Check out our Facebook page for a link to how make a solar cell from powdered donuts. Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the Center for Earth and Environmental Nanotechnology and the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.Here's the link on how to make a solar cell from powdered donuts:https://m.wikihow.com/Make-Solar-Cell-in-Home?amp=1