Flexible material that converts radio signals into electrical current, suitable for domestic use, improves the outlook for a world without batteries.
Scientists in the United States have developed a device knownas “rectenna”, from a semiconductor just a few atoms thick. Wi-Fi signals captured by the built-in antenna are converted to direct current suitable for electronic circuits. The device can be used to provide uninterrupted power to the elements of flexible smartphones, IoT gadgets, medical implants and other portable sensors.
Due to its flexibility, it can also bemade to cover large areas. This has serious implications for the future of “electronic intelligence,” the researchers say. In experiments, rectenna generated about 40 microwatts of energy during normal Wi-Fi signals of about 150 microwatts. This energy is enough to light a simple mobile display or activate silicon chips.
To create rektenny team used a new2D material called molybdenum disulfide, one of the world's thinnest semiconductors. All antennas produce electricity, but so far in very small quantities. For example, in a portable radio station, the amplifier amplifies the signal, allowing you to hear the broadcast. Currently, scientists are planning to create more complex devices with increased efficiency.