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Superlens May Be Your Next Mobile Charging Technology

Duke University has just demonstrated the use of low-frequency magnetic fields to conduct wireless power transfer, over distance.

Pratt School of Engineering researchers are using metamaterials to create what they are calling a superlens, that translates a magnetic field from a power coil onto an exact twin, located nearby. This creates an electric current in the receiving coil. The result is the ability to send power through the air at greater distances than the size of a receiver and transmitter, and with great efficiency.

The university has teamed up on the project with Toyota Research Institute N.A. The superlens walls of the design are etched with spiraling copper wire. The repetitive coils and the design for a metamaterial use magnetic fields so that the fields are transmitted and kept in a narrow cone — resulting in high power intensity.

Eventually, the technology will be used to charge mobile devices as they are transported, and the power cone will become more focused by integrating a tuning capability.

You can find more information on how the technology works and the demonstration in the Nature Scientific Report.

18 comments on “Superlens May Be Your Next Mobile Charging Technology

  1. Nemos
    January 26, 2014

    I am trying to visualize the description, but I don't really get it. It is unnecessary to mention that if we can achieve the “wireless” power transmission, we are setting up the next level of the electronics.

  2. Eldredge
    January 26, 2014

    I can easily envision this technology for re-charging mobile devices. Is it also scaleable to large power requirements, such as electrci vehicles? Or is that the target application?

  3. Daniel
    January 26, 2014

    Carolyn, hope this solutions will be capable to address the power drain solutions for mobile devices and EVs. If wifi charging are available, they can be get recharged on the way and hence zero drain situation.

  4. ahdand
    January 27, 2014

    @Jacob: Do you think its possible ? I feel since there is more draining while using wifi the charging will not make a big impact at all.

  5. prabhakar_deosthali
    January 27, 2014

    The title of this blog seems rather confusing.

    Is this new technology applicable for wireless charging of mobile phones or all mobile devices in general?

    If it is applicable for all mobile ( moving devices) then EVs are the ideal candidates to use this technology.

    Maybe with a proper road infrastructure where such technology can be embedded, it may be possible to charge EVs while they are on the move.

  6. Houngbo_Hospice
    January 27, 2014

    @nimantha.d: Can't wait to try that. It is too soon to know all about the limitation of the technology before it is deployed and use on a large scale.

  7. Eldredge
    January 27, 2014

    @prabhaakar – I scanned the referenced article on superlens – it was very techniocal, but it sounds like the technology has been demonstrated over a fairly short distance so far. I don't think the author would not want to limit possible applications at this time – the technology is still very early.

  8. Eldredge
    January 27, 2014

    @Rich – Looks to me as though the technolgy has already been perfected.

  9. Daniel
    January 27, 2014

    “Do you think its possible ? I feel since there is more draining while using wifi the charging will not make a big impact at all.”

    Nimantha, very much possible. Recently I had read an article in design news about similar wifi charging technology for an EV, which can be used with in a closed campus.

  10. Daniel
    January 27, 2014

    “Is this new technology applicable for wireless charging of mobile phones or all mobile devices in general? If it is applicable for all mobile ( moving devices) then EVs are the ideal candidates to use this technology.”

    Prabhakar, it can be used for charging all devices provided; the equipment has to be equipped with a wifi charging module (controller circuit).

  11. ahdand
    January 28, 2014

    @Eldredge: Yes technology is improving but not 100% perfect and I feel it will not be at any point since the requirements / needs / wants of the customers / users do rise every time.   

  12. Daniel
    January 28, 2014

    “Yes technology is improving but not 100% perfect and I feel it will not be at any point since the requirements / needs / wants of the customers / users do rise every time.   “

    Nimantha, for any technology, it's not possible for one-shot developments to attain perfection. It will gradually improve over certain versions/years. Just imagine about the transition of mobile phone technology from our old big basic handset to latest Smartphone over a period of 15 years.

  13. SunitaT
    January 29, 2014

    @Carolyn, thanks for the post. This technology will definitely improve the power transfer efficiency. I am curious to know if there is any distance limit and can we use this technology to transmit power for longer distance ?

  14. SunitaT
    January 29, 2014

    It will gradually improve over certain versions/years. Just imagine about the transition of mobile phone technology from our old big basic handset to latest Smartphone over a period of 15 years.

    @Jacob, true. I think it will take time for this technology to mature. I am sure in future we will be able to use this technology to transmit power for longer distances.

  15. Daniel
    January 29, 2014

    ” true. I think it will take time for this technology to mature. I am sure in future we will be able to use this technology to transmit power for longer distances.”

    Tirlapur, no doubt about that. It may take some more time to get matured either by improvement in technology or maybe get replaced by a better one.

  16. Taimoor Zubar
    January 30, 2014

    @tirlapur: I think the long distance phenomena is very far-fetched. There are several issues involved in using this technology for long distance power transfer. I don't see it evolving from short distance to long distance any time soon.

  17. ahdand
    January 30, 2014

    @Taimoor: Yes it will consume some time but surely there are possibilities in the future if the need arises. 

  18. Eldredge
    February 7, 2014

    I agree – the research presented demonstrated power transfer over a very short distance. It shows technical promise, but it is a long way from practical application.

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