Distance wireless charging enhanced by magnetic metamaterials

May 10, 2016, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona
Schematic diagram of the experimental setup used to transfer energy between two circuits, developed by UAB researchers. Credit: Jordi Prat

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona researchers have developed a system that efficiently transfers electrical energy between two separate circuits. The system, made with a shell of metamaterials that concentrates the magnetic field, could transmit energy efficiently enough to charge mobile devices without having to place them close to the charging base. The research was published in the journal Advanced Materials.

Wireless charging of mobile devices is a future technological milestone. Some devices can already be charged wirelessly via the use of a charging base. The next step is developing devices that charge without such bases.

A group of researchers from the Department of Physics of Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona has developed a system that can efficiently transfer between two separated circuits thanks to the use of metamaterials. This system is still in the experimental stage, but once it has been perfected and can be applied to mobile devices, it will be able to charge them wirelessly and at a longer distance than currently possible.

Today's wireless devices make use of induction to charge through a special case adapted to the device and a charging base connected to an electrical socket. The device is placed on top of the base, which generates a inducing an electric current inside the case and, without cables, the device is charged. If the device is separated from the base, the is not transferred efficiently enough and the battery cannot be charged.

The system created by UAB researchers overcomes these limitations. It is made up of metamaterials that combine layers of ferromagnetic materials, such as iron compounds, and conductor materials such as copper. The metamaterials envelop the emitter and receiver and enable energy transfer at a distance and with unprecedented efficiency.

With the use of metamaterial crowns, researchers were able in the lab to increase the transmission efficiency 35-fold, "and there is much more room for improvement, since theoretically, the efficiency can be increased even more if conditions and the design of the experiment are perfected" explains Àlvar Sánchez, director of the research.

"Enveloping the two circuits with metamaterial shells has the same effect as bringing them close together; it's as if the space between them literally disappears", says Jordi Prat, lead author of the paper.

Moreover, the materials needed to construct these crowns, such as copper and ferrite, are readily available. The first experiments conducted with the aim of concentrating static magnetic fields required the use of superconductor , unfeasible for everyday use with . "In contrast, low frequency electromagnetic waves—the ones used to transfer energy from one circuit to the other—only need conventional conductors and ferromagnets," Navau says.

Explore further: Wireless power transfer enhanced by metamaterials

More information: Jordi Prat-Camps et al. Quasistatic Metamaterials: Magnetic Coupling Enhancement by Effective Space Cancellation, Advanced Materials (2016). DOI: 10.1002/adma.201506376

Related Stories

Wireless power transfer enhanced by metamaterials

April 30, 2015

(Phys.org)—Over the past decade, research on wireless power transfer has led to the development of several commercial applications, such as wireless charging of mobile devices and electric toothbrushes, as well as wireless ...

Recommended for you

Magic number colloidal clusters

December 14, 2018

Complexity in nature often results from self-assembly, and is considered particularly robust. Compact clusters of elemental particles can be shown to be of practical relevance, and are found in atomic nuclei, nanoparticles ...

Tangled magnetic fields power cosmic particle accelerators

December 13, 2018

Magnetic field lines tangled like spaghetti in a bowl might be behind the most powerful particle accelerators in the universe. That's the result of a new computational study by researchers from the Department of Energy's ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Jeffhans1
not rated yet May 10, 2016
3D print every conceivable configuration and see what works best. This could lead to low power high bandwidth transmission long distance transmission, perfect for secure communication.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.