Researchers defy 19th Century law of Physics in 21st century boost for energy efficiency

November 21, 2018 by Anna Ford, University of Sussex
3-D printed model of Dr Jordi Prat-Camps' experiment which was then rotated at very high speeds. Credit: University of Sussex

Research led by a University of Sussex scientist has turned a 156-year-old law of physics on its head in a development which could lead to more efficient recharging of batteries in cars and mobile phones.

Dr. Jordi Prat-Camps, a research fellow at the University of Sussex, has for the first time demonstrated that the coupling between two magnetic elements can be made extremely asymmetrical. Working with colleagues from the Austrian Academy of Sciences and University of Innsbruck, Dr. Prat-Camps' research rips up the physics rule book by showing it is possible to make one magnet connect to another without the connection happening in the opposite direction.

The findings run contrary to long-established beliefs of magnetic coupling, which emerge from the four Maxwell equations dating back to the seminal works of Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell in the 19th century.

Dr. Prat-Camps said: "We have created the first device that behaves like a diode for magnetic fields. Electric diodes are so crucial that none of the existing electronic technologies such as microchips, computers or mobile phones would be possible without them. If our result for magnetic fields would have one millionth of the same impact as the developments in electric diodes, it would be a hugely impactful success. The creation of such a diode opens up a lot of new possibilities for other scientists and technicians to explore. Thanks to our discovery we think it might be possible to improve and the performance of wireless power transfer technologies to improve the efficiency of recharging phones, laptops and even cars."

Dr. Prat-Camps' breakthrough builds on research he and colleagues have carried out over a number of years focusing on the control and manipulation of magnetic fields by the use of metamaterials. Recently Dr. Prat-Camps and his collaborators have developed new tools to control magnetism including magnetic undetectability cloaks, magnetic concentrators and wormholes.

As other researchers working with other kinds of metamaterials explored the possibility of breaking reciprocity for light and sound waves, Dr. Prat-Camps explored whether the same challenge could be applied to magnetic fields.

After several unsuccessful attempts to break magnetic reciprocity, the team decided to try using an electrical conductor in movement. By solving Maxwell's equations analytically, the researchers very quickly demonstrated that not only could reciprocity be broken down but that, the coupling could be made maximally asymmetric, whereby the coupling from A to B would be different from zero but from B to A it would be exactly zero. Having shown that total unidirectional coupling was possible theoretically, the team designed and built a proof-of-concept experiment which confirmed their findings.

Dr Jordi Prat-Camps with the model of his experiment Credit: University of Sussex

Dr. Prat-Camps said: "The magnetic coupling between magnets or circuits is something extremely well-known. It dates back to the seminal works of Faraday and Maxwell and it is deeply embedded into the four Maxwell equations that describe all electromagnetic phenomena. A vast majority of the technologies we rely on today are based on magnetic coupling including motors, transformers, low-frequency antennas and wireless power transfer devices. As far as we know, nobody before us thought to ask whether this symmetry could be broken and to what extent."

The researchers are hopeful the findings could have wide implications. Technology reliant on magnetically-based wireless power transfer includes the vast majority of everyday electronic devices like mobile phones and laptops.

Innsbruck physicists Oriol Romero-Isart and Gerhard Kirchmair said: "If the coupling between coils is symmetric, some part of the energy can also flow in the opposite direction which can greatly reduce the efficiency of the transfer. By using a magnetic diode to prevent this backwards flow, the efficiency of the transfer could be greatly enhanced."

Explore further: Wireless power transfer enhanced by metamaterials

More information: J. Prat-Camps et al, Circumventing Magnetostatic Reciprocity: A Diode for Magnetic Fields, Physical Review Letters (2018). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.121.213903

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 ...

Transfering magnetic fields across long distances

June 25, 2014

A Catalan, German and Austrian group of physicists has developed a new technology to transfer magnetic fields to arbitrary long distances, which is comparable to transmitting and routing light in optical fibers. Oriol Romero-Isart ...

Physicists design ultrafocused pulses

July 27, 2017

Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.

Recommended for you

Compelling evidence for small drops of perfect fluid

December 10, 2018

Nuclear physicists analyzing data from the PHENIX detector at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC)—a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science user facility for nuclear physics research at Brookhaven National ...

Engineers invent groundbreaking spin-based memory device

December 7, 2018

A team of international researchers led by engineers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have invented a new magnetic device to manipulate digital information 20 times more efficiently and with 10 times more stability ...

Multichannel vectorial holographic display and encryption

December 7, 2018

Holography is a powerful tool that can reconstruct wavefronts of light and combine the fundamental wave properties of amplitude, phase, polarization, wave vector and frequency. Smart multiplexing techniques (multiple signal ...

12 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Nik_2213
5 / 5 (8) Nov 21, 2018
Main link is pay-walled, but there's...

https://arxiv.org...0832.pdf

This has a lonnng appendix with much supplementary info which, sadly, I failed to grok...
Steelwolf
1.6 / 5 (7) Nov 21, 2018
This is something that has been talked about, found/discovered and then covered back up or had the rights bought up etc. Those selling electric power did not want Efficient motors out there, that would reduce the amount of power sold. So they had artificial mechanisms through laws and the Patent Office limiting efficiency to a set number, rather than the actual maximum.

The whole idea of controlling the magnetic backlash in electric motors, which produces a radio spike as well as reducing efficiency, has been the subject of many previous discoveries, but since it is nearly impossible to cover this fact up anymore: that it CAN be controlled, and neutralized, actually can increase the efficiency of electric motors by almost double compared to what they get now.

This is a major thing, they can no longer cover it up so now they are going to have to allow it and allow tech to upgrade at least to that degree.

How much more do they hide? That One was hidden for 156 years.
rrwillsj
3.9 / 5 (7) Nov 21, 2018
well, rustyyorkie, \you have finally exposed yourself as an agent of the Uranus Conspiracy. In your feeble attempt to sabotage the importance of this discovery.

Shame! Shame! Bad puppy!
Steelwolf
2.3 / 5 (9) Nov 21, 2018
Sometimes there is conspiracy theory, usually a term used by those in the middle of a conspiracy to deflect attention with the innuendo that a 'conspiracy theorist' is nuts.

The problem is that all kinds of conspiracies come to light every day, and when Mr Tesla showed the oil barons how to produce electricity that could be sent worldwide, for free, Mr. J. P. Morgan cut off his funding and said that there had to be some way to make people PAY for their power, rather than providing it free. Direct corollary of that would be 'making people use More Power by legally limiting the definitions of efficiency possible' or in the text books.

And it is very suddenly a (actually very well documented) conspiracy of milking the buyers of electricity for all they are worth by limiting the efficiency allowed.

Such an easy way to DOUBLE your profit, and then some.

Think about our bankster's actions today etc. Human nature takes no conspiracy to enact.
Robin_Whittle
4.6 / 5 (9) Nov 21, 2018
Telsa's techniques for "sending energy worldwide" are the same as radio transmission or transformers. They would firstly be vastly inefficient and secondly heat up most things in the path of transmission, not least humans, perhaps to the point of combustion.

Thanks Nik for the link to the preprint. I don't like my chances of understanding it but I will give it a go.
Da Schneib
4.8 / 5 (9) Nov 21, 2018
Considering this uses metamaterials I have to question whether anyone prior to 1999 could have found it out.

It's particularly interesting that we are still finding new things out about equations that were first developed in the 1850s.
Osiris1
5 / 5 (2) Nov 24, 2018
Asked my teacher in fifth grade if there was life on Uranus.........she sent me to the principle.
Eikka
5 / 5 (3) Nov 24, 2018
Those selling electric power did not want Efficient motors out there


Yes. They conspired to limit electric motors to be just 98% efficient at best, and anyone breaking into the last 2% was shot to death by men in black.
Parsec
5 / 5 (2) Nov 24, 2018
Telsa's techniques for "sending energy worldwide" are the same as radio transmission or transformers. They would firstly be vastly inefficient and secondly heat up most things in the path of transmission, not least humans, perhaps to the point of combustion.

Thanks Nik for the link to the preprint. I don't like my chances of understanding it but I will give it a go.


Not necessarily. Recent experiments using very high frequency magnetic fields have shown that magnetic fields can be transmitted in the same way that radio waves transmit. Just like using resonant receivers to concentrate radio waves, using resonant receivers to concentrate magnetic waves permit remote power transmission. This is a completely different mechanism than normal transformers that use very low frequencies and are notoriously inefficient.

MIT has demonstrated transmission of several hundred watts of power continuously over distances of 30 meters at 50% efficiency.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (2) Nov 24, 2018
MIT has demonstrated transmission of several hundred watts of power continuously over distances of 30 meters at 50% efficiency.
Now if they can just lick the beamspread problem and most of the other possible sources of inefficiency, we might be able to get rid of all those nasty expensive transmission lines.
Eikka
not rated yet Nov 28, 2018
Recent experiments using very high frequency magnetic fields have shown that magnetic fields can be transmitted in the same way that radio waves transmit.


And that would make them....

radio waves. The electromagnetic field transfers energy by photons, which have both an electric and a magnetic component, which is well known thanks to Maxwell. Many don't think of radio waves as photons, but they are fundamentally the same thing as light.

Electromagnetic radiation consists of electromagnetic waves, which are synchronized oscillations of electric and magnetic fields that propagate at the speed of light. Whether you send a radio wave out by wiggling a magnetic field, or an electric field, the opposite property automatically emerges and the resulting photon has both qualities.

It's just more difficult to create strong magnetic fields that oscillate rapidly, than strong electric fields. That's why most radio equipment work by manipulating the electric field.
Eikka
not rated yet Nov 28, 2018
MIT has demonstrated transmission of several hundred watts of power continuously over distances of 30 meters at 50% efficiency.
Now if they can just lick the beamspread problem and most of the other possible sources of inefficiency, we might be able to get rid of all those nasty expensive transmission lines.


Yeah, and replace them with coils of magnet wire that would, if rolled out, cover a longer distance than the actual transmission line.

For example, the original MIT lightbulb demo had two 5-turn copper coils of 60 cm (24 in) diameter, that were 2 m (7 ft) away. That makes it 19 meters of copper wire to cover a distance of 2 meters, or just 9.5x the amount of wire that you'd need to simply plug the bulb in the wall the regular way.

This is one of the reasons why things like roads with embedded wireless charging systems are never going to work - you need such ridiculous amounts of metals to make the coils that nobody can actually build them.

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.