Cell phones can be recharged via Wi-Fi in a nearby reality. Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are responsible for the novelty that is under development. According to the researchers, it was discovered that graphene is a potential component for the technology to be put into practice. The material in question is capable of converting environmental terahertz waves into direct current.
Terahertz waves correspond to a frequency between microwaves and infrared, and Wi-Fi emitting devices or LTE / 5G antennas also produce some of these waves. Thus, using graphene, MIT scientists were able to create a plan for a device that can capture such lost electromagnetic waves and turn them into usable energy.
Lead author of the research, postdoctoral fellow Hiroki Isobe says: “If we can convert electromagnetic waves in the terahertz range into a usable energy source in everyday life, it will be easier to face the current energy challenges”.
The team’s device consists of a terahertz rectifier composed of graphene with a layer of boron nitride underneath, with an antenna surrounding the prototype. This antenna is responsible for collecting terahertz radiation from the air, increasing the signal while transferring it to the material. This, in turn, causes electrons in graphene to flow in the same direction, creating a direct current.
Thus, although it generates a small amount of electricity, the technology under development may be able to power small devices. Scientists recommend that at first the rectifier be used to recharge implanted devices, such as pacemakers, which currently require surgery to change batteries.
The research team plans to start building and testing the physical device to launch a prototype of the technology soon. That way, the feature could be implemented on smartphones in the near future.
It is worth noting that it is not the first time that graphene appears as a way to revolutionize cell phone batteries. Rumors indicated that Huawei could introduce the technology on the Huawei P40 Pro, something that did not happen. Other information shows that Samsung can do the same for the brand’s phones in 2020 or 2021. The goal would be to bring a faster charge and increase the durability of the component.