Researchers just transmitted power wirelessly through 98 feet of thin air

(ORDO NEWS) — One day we will be able to charge our phones and tablets wirelessly thanks to a newly developed technology.

The researchers used infrared laser light to transmit 400 mW of light power up to 30 meters (98 feet). This charge is enough to charge small sensors, although it could eventually be developed to charge larger devices such as smartphones.

All this is done in a completely safe way the laser reverts to low power mode when not in use.

The technical term for this is distributed laser charging, and the particular type developed here has proven to be safer and able to go further than previous experiments with a similar kind of wireless power transfer. technologies.

“While most other approaches require the receiving device to be in a special charging cradle or be stationary, distributed laser charging provides self-leveling without tracking processes, as long as the transmitter and receiver are in line of sight of each other,” says the electrical engineer.

Jinong Ha from Sejong University in South Korea.

Usually the light reflecting components that make up the laser resonator will be together on the same device.

Here they are separated into transmitter and receiver, which means that the laser cavity is formed in the space between them, as long as the transmitter and receiver are in each other’s field of view.

In the experimental setup, a transmitter-amplifier specially treated with a silver-white metal called erbium was placed 30 meters from the receiver, which was equipped with a photovoltaic cell to convert the light signal into electrical energy.

Just 10 millimeters from the receiver. Measuring 10 millimeters (0.4 inches by 0.4 inches), this receiver is small enough to fit into compact devices such as sensors.

For example, small smart home devices such as motion or temperature sensors can be wirelessly charged this way.

Once you could walk into an airport and charge your phone while you use it – no cables or plugs required. However, before this happens, the team will have to increase the level of energy that the system is able to transmit.

Part of this process could be to upgrade the photovoltaic cell in the receiver so that it can convert more laser light into electricity.

Another potential improvement would be the ability to operate the setup with multiple receivers at the same time.

With a central wavelength of 1550 nanometers, the laser is in the safest part of the infrared spectrum and cannot harm human skin or eyes.

Scientists have made a number of additional improvements to improve the efficiency of the system and ensure that as much energy as possible is transferred.

“In the receiver unit, we included a retroreflector with a spherical lens to facilitate a 360° view. transmitter and receiver alignment in degrees, which maximized power transfer efficiency,” Ha says.

“We experimentally found that the overall performance of the system depends on the refractive index of the ball lens, with a refractive index of 2.003 corresponding to the refractive index. the most efficient.”

This technology is just getting started, but wireless power transmission can be useful not only for personal electronics, but also for industrial environments where cabling is difficult. collect or serve.

“Using a laser charging system to replace power cords in factories can save maintenance and replacement costs,” Ha says.

“This can be especially useful in harsh environments where electrical connections can interfere or present a fire hazard.”

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