Scientists turn Wi-Fi signals to electricity

Introduction:

Scientists have invented a new type of 2D material, which can harness power from Wi-Fi signals. Yupp finally it happens, in the near future we can use smart phones, laptops, wearables and other electronics, which will be directly powered with wifi signals rather than batteries. Just imagine a futuristic world where you don't need to charge your electrical gadgets and you can do your work continuously without any low battery reminder or something like that.




How this sci-fi tech come into reality:

Researchers from MIT and other institutions created the first fully flexible, battery free "rectenna", which converts wifi signals to electricity and power electrical gadgets. This new device is very flexible and inexpensive as it is made up of 2D materials.

This new type of rectenna, uses a radio frequency antenna to capture electromagnetic waves as alternating current (AC).The antenna is then connected to a tiny device, which is made out of a two dimensional semiconductor (just a few atom thick), which converts it into a DC voltage, that can be used to power electronics or recharge batteries.


 All rectennas depend on a component known as a “rectifier,” which converts the AC signals into DC power. 

Traditional rectennas use either silicon or gallium arsenide for the rectifier. These materials can cover the Wi-Fi band, but they are rigid and easily breakable.

But there were some flexible rectennas too in the market. But there were some problems with them too. These fellow rectennas only operate at low frequencies and can’t capture and convert signals into gigahertz frequencies, where most of the relevant cell phone and Wi-Fi signals are.



To build a perfect rectifier, the researchers used a novel 2-D material called molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), which is one of the thinnest semiconductor in the world [only 3 atoms thick].

In doing so, the team grasped a singular behavior of MoS2, When exposed to certain chemicals, the material’s atoms rearrange in a certain way that acts like a switch, forcing a phase transition from a semiconductor to a metallic material.

The resulting structure is known as a Schottky diode, which is the junction of a semiconductor with a metal. Which helps in the process of conversion of wifi signals to electricity.



It's unlimited potential:

In experiments, the rectenna generated very less electricity, about 40 microwatts of power when it was exposed to normal wi-fi signals of around 150 microwatts. The amount of electricity produced is more than enough to light up a simple mobile display or activate silicon chips. 

But you will be surprised to know that this tiny little device has unlimited potential. Due to it's flexible nature, we can wrap around a bridge or highway or the walls of  our office and could bring electronic intelligence to everything around us.





One of the fascinating application of this technology is that this can be used in powering the data communications of implantable medical device. 

Another great advantage of this tech is that this can be used in artificial heart where it will used as a power source and we don't need to change batteries again and again because this tech allows us to give power forever.



Conclusion:

We are moving towards a wirless world. This new tech can make our dreams true. Just imagine a world where everything will get automatically charged. 
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