Scientists have invented a way to transform Wi-Fi signals into electricity

30 January 2019

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a special antenna that can be used to convert Wi-Fi signals into electricity. The device has one significant disadvantage - it is very stiff and is more suitable for small electronic devices.

Wireless charging is definitely a new milestone for gadgets. Its only disadvantage is that its range is limited. The device has to be placed directly on top of the charger, and that's not always convenient.

Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have tried to solve the problem. They developed a new two-dimensional device that transforms Wi-Fi signals into electricity. The new invention is based on the well-known rectifier antennas - rectennae.

ректенны для зарядки

So how do rectennae work? They intercept electromagnetic waves of alternating current in the surrounding space. That's where Wi-Fi signals come in. Rectifier antennas then convert the signals to direct current.

Scientists at Massachusetts State University were tasked with creating a rectenna that was more flexible and larger in size.

Engineers used molybdenum disulfide, which is only three atoms thick, to develop it. It is an unusually flexible and efficient material. A rectifier based on such a base converts Wi-Fi signals into 10-gigahertz wireless signals at about 30 percent efficiency. At this point, this is much higher than other similar flexible devices.

However, the rectenna came out with its own disadvantages. For example, it is half as efficient as some other rectifiers. The rectenna generates about 40 microwatts to about 150 microwatts of Wi-Fi power. However, it will allow charging small electronic or medical devices. Developers say it's only a matter of time before performance improves.