The authors of the new work have figured out how to increase the efficiency of wireless energy transfer using ultrasonic waves through triboelectric power generation. This approach could be used to wirelessly charge batteries underwater or in electronic devices implanted into the body.
As the population ages and medical technology advances worldwide, the number of patients using implanted electronic devices, such as artificial pacemakers and defibrillators, is increasing. Batteries for such devices are now replaced by a surgical incision, but this can lead to health complications. Therefore, the authors of the new work created a charging technology using wireless power transfer, it can be used to charge underwater devices.
The authors of the work stated that electromagnetic induction and magnetic resonance can be used for wireless energy transfer. Electromagnetic induction is now used in smartphones and wireless headphones, but its use is limited because electromagnetic waves cannot pass through water or metal. Therefore, the distance for charging is relatively short.
In addition, it is difficult to use this method to recharge implanted medical devices because the heat generated during charging is harmful. If the magnetic resonance method is used, the resonant frequencies of the magnetic field generator and the transmitting device must be the same. In addition, there is a risk due to interference with other wireless frequencies such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Therefore, the team used ultrasonic waves. The sonar for ultrasonic waves, are commonly used underwater. Also, their safety has been proven in various medical works. The research team developed a model that receives and converts ultrasonic waves into electrical energy using the triboelectric principle – it effectively converts small mechanical vibrations into electrical energy.
The authors added a segmentelectric material to the triboelectric generator and the transmission efficiency of ultrasonic energy increased from less than 1% to more than 4%. The charging power was 8 MW at 6 cm, which was enough to simultaneously operate 200 LEDs or transmit Bluetooth sensor data underwater.
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