Mar 31, 2021 by News Staff / Source
A team of researchers from the Pennsylvania State University and elsewhere has developed a stretchable antenna and rectenna system that harvests energy from radio waves to power wearable devices.
Devices with stretchable wideband antennas and rectennas create application opportunities such as self-powered systems, remote monitoring of the environment, and clean energy. Image credit: Zhu et al., doi: 10.1016/j.mtphys.2021.100377.
“We don’t want to replace any of these current power sources. We are trying to provide additional, consistent energy,” said senior author Professor Huanyu Cheng, a researcher in the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics at the Pennsylvania State University.
Professor Cheng and colleagues developed a stretchable wideband dipole antenna system capable of wirelessly transmitting data that is collected from health-monitoring sensors.
The system consists of two stretchable metal antennas integrated onto conductive graphene material with a metal coating.
The wideband design of the system allows it to retain its frequency functions even when stretched, bent and twisted.
This system is then connected to a stretchable rectifying circuit, creating a rectified antenna, or ‘rectenna,’ capable of converting energy from electromagnetic waves into electricity.
The electricity than can be used to power wireless devices or to charge energy storage devices, such as batteries and supercapacitors.
The rectenna can convert radio, or electromagnetic, waves from the ambient environment into energy to power the sensing modules on the device, which track temperature, hydration and pulse oxygen level.
“Compared to other sources, less energy is produced, but the system can generate power continuously — a significant advantage,” Professor Cheng said.
“We are utilizing the energy that already surrounds us — radio waves are everywhere, all the time.”
“If we don’t use this energy found in the ambient environment, it is simply wasted. We can harvest this energy and rectify it into power.”
The team’s work was published in the journal Materials Today Physics.
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