Scientists develop a device capable of converting WiFi signals into electricity
American and Spanish scientists have developed a flexible device that can convert Wi-Fi signals into electricity to power electronic devices, handheld devices and medical devices.
The study, published Monday in the journal Nature, described the fully flexible radio frequency antenna that can convert AC electromagnetic waves into DC electricity.
The antenna is made of a new two-dimensional rectifier called molybdenum disulphide (MoS2), which is only three atoms thick, making it one of the best semiconductors in the world.
According to the study, when AC signals, including Wi-Fi, travel to the semiconductor, they turn into a DC voltage that can power the circuits or recharge the batteries.
In addition, the device is flexible, so it can cover very large areas such as the surfaces of buildings.
"We've created a new way to leverage future electronics by collecting Wi-Fi power in a way that's easily integrated into large areas," said co-author of the article, Tomas Palacios, a professor of electrical engineering at the Institute of Technology. Massachusetts Technology (MIT).
In experiments, the device can produce approximately 40 microwatts of power when exposed to the typical power levels of Wi-Fi signals that are approximately 150 microwatts. It is enough to illuminate a simple moving screen or silicon chips.
Most of the flexible rectifiers reported previously can not operate at low frequencies so they can not capture and convert the gigahertz frequencies used by the cell phone and Wi-Fi signals, according to the researchers.
But the MoS2 material is much faster in signal conversion and allows you to capture and convert up to 10 gigahertz of wireless signals.
The maximum output efficiency for the current device is 40%, depending on the input power of the Wi-Fi input. According to the study, at the typical Wi-Fi power level, the energy efficiency of the MoS2 rectifier is about 30%.
In addition, the device can be used to power implantable medical devices as it will not emit toxic lithium.
"It is much better to collect energy from the environment to feed these small laboratories inside the body and communicate data to external computers," said co-author of the article, Jesus Grajal, a researcher at the Technical University of Madrid.