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Metamaterials May Improve Wireless Energy Transfer by Increasing Inductive Coupling

Published on March 15, 2012 at 5:51 AM

By Cameron Chai

A research team comprising scientists from the Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories and Duke University has put forward a theory that the efficacy of wireless power transfer systems can be improved by increasing their inductive coupling through the integration of superlens, a lens made of artificially-structured metamaterials.

Inductive coupling is an electromagnetic phenomenon, in which a magnetic field caused by the flow of a varying electric current through one wire induces a voltage across another wire, which is physically isolated from the first wire. The phenomenon is applied for recharging devices like mobile phones and cordless electric toothbrushes.

A superlens demonstrates negative permeability, a property that allows the lens to refocus a magnetic field of a source on its one side to a receiving device on its other side. Based on numerical calculations, the research team discovered that the performance of the wireless power transfer systems must be increased through the inclusion of a superlens, even when a trace amount of energy gets lost while passing via the lens.

In the earlier study analyzing the impact of a superlens on wireless energy transfer, the research team concentrated on lenses made of metamaterials, demonstrating identical properties in every direction. In the latest study, the team also studied materials exhibiting magnetic anisotropy, which means the magnetic properties of these materials are directionally dependent. The study findings show that the superlens’ powerful magnetic anisotropy further enhances the system by offering improvements such as width and thickness reduction of the lens.

The American Institute of Physics has accepted the study to be published in its Journal of Applied Physics.

Source: http://www.aip.org/

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