Expandable broadband dipole antenna for energy provide through radio waves
Researchers are developing a stretchable broadband dipole antenna system that can transmit data captured by health monitoring sensors.
From microwave ovens to Wi-Fi connections, the radio waves penetrating the environment are not just signals of energy consumption, but also sources of energy themselves.
An international team of researchers led by Huanyu “Larry” Cheng, professor of career development with Dorothy Quiggle at Penn State Department of Engineering and Mechanics, has developed a way to extract energy from radio waves to power portable devices.
The researchers recently published their method in Materials Today Physics.
Current sources of energy for wearable health monitoring devices have their place in powering sensor devices, but each has its setbacks. For example, solar energy can only generate energy when it is exposed to the sun.
An auto-triboelectric device with its own power supply can only generate energy when the body is in motion.
“We don’t want to replace any of these current power sources,” said Cheng. “We’re trying to provide additional, consistent energy.”
Researchers developed a stretchable broadband dipole antenna system that allows data captured by health monitoring sensors to be transmitted wirelessly.
The system consists of two stretchable metal antennas that are integrated with a metal coating on conductive graphene material.
The broadband design of the system allows it to maintain its frequency functions even when stretching, bending, and twisting.
This system is then connected to a stretchable rectifying circuit, creating a rectified antenna or “rectification” that can convert energy from electromagnetic waves into electricity.
This electricity can be used to power wireless devices or to charge energy storage devices such as batteries and supercapacitors.
This rectenna can convert radio or electromagnetic waves from the environment into energy in order to supply the sensor modules on the device with power, which track temperature, fluid supply and pulse oxygen content.
Compared to other sources, it generates less energy, but the system can generate electricity continuously – a significant benefit, said Cheng.
“We’re harnessing the energy that already surrounds us – radio waves are anywhere, anytime,” Cheng said. “If we do not use this energy in the environment, it will simply be wasted.
We can harvest this energy and convert it into electricity. “
Cheng said this technology is a building block for him and his team.
The combination with the new wireless data device is an important component that works with the team’s existing sensor modules.
“Our next steps will be to study miniaturized versions of these circuits and work on developing the ductility of the rectifier,” Cheng said. “This is a platform where we can easily combine and apply this technology with other modules that we have created in the past.
It can easily be expanded or adapted for other uses and we plan to explore these possibilities. “
Originally published on Brinkwire