Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Watt


Wireless power delivery has the potential to seamlessly power our electrical devices as easily as data is transmitted through the air. However, existing solutions are limited to near contact distances and do not provide the geometric freedom to enable automatic and un-aided charging. We introduce quasistatic cavity resonance (QSCR), which can enable purpose-built structures, such as cabinets, rooms, and warehouses, to generate quasistatic magnetic fields that safely deliver kilowatts of power to mobile receivers contained nearly anywhere within. A theoretical model of a quasistatic cavity resonator is derived, and field distributions along with power transfer efficiency are validated against measured results. An experimental demonstration shows that a 54 m3 QSCR room can deliver power to small coil receivers in nearly any position with 40% to 95% efficiency. Finally, a detailed safety analysis shows that up to 1900 watts can be transmitted to a coil receiver enabling safe and ubiquitous wireless power.

Concepts: Magnetic field, Energy, Resonator, Radio, Power, Nikola Tesla, Watt, Wireless energy transfer


An effective way to improve polymer solar cell efficiency is to use a tandem structure, as a broader part of the spectrum of solar radiation is used and the thermalization loss of photon energy is minimized. In the past, the lack of high-performance low-bandgap polymers was the major limiting factor for achieving high-performance tandem solar cell. Here we report the development of a high-performance low bandgap polymer (bandgap <1.4 eV), poly[2,7-(5,5-bis-(3,7-dimethyloctyl)-5H-dithieno[3,2-b:2',3'-d]pyran)-alt-4,7-(5,6-difluoro-2,1,3-benzothia diazole)] with a bandgap of 1.38 eV, high mobility, deep highest occupied molecular orbital. As a result, a single-junction device shows high external quantum efficiency of >60% and spectral response that extends to 900 nm, with a power conversion efficiency of 7.9%. The polymer enables a solution processed tandem solar cell with certified 10.6% power conversion efficiency under standard reporting conditions (25 °C, 1,000 Wm(-2), IEC 60904-3 global), which is the first certified polymer solar cell efficiency over 10%.

Concepts: Photon, Energy, Light, Quantum dot, Solar cell, Energy conversion, Energy conversion efficiency, Watt


Wearable power supplies: Photo-rechargeable devices integrating power conversion and energy storage functions are useful for supplying power to portable electronics. A recent report introduces a facile method to fabricate flexible dual-functional devices on a single metal wire which paves the way for wearable fabric power suppliers.

Concepts: Vacuum tube, Copper, Capacitor, Textile, Joule, Clothing, Felt, Watt


All-solid-state, flexible, symmetric, and asymmetric microsupercapacitors are fabricated by a simple method in a scalable fashion from laser-induced graphene on commercial polyimide films, followed by electrodeposition of pseudocapacitive materials on the interdigitated in-plane architectures. These microsupercapacitors demonstrate comparable energy density to commercial lithium thin film batteries, yet exhibit more than two orders of magnitude higher power density with good mechanical flexibility.

Concepts: Energy, Fundamental physics concepts, Nuclear fusion, Film, Energy density, Polyimide, Higher Power, Watt


Triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG), a unique technology for harvesting ambient mechanical energy based on triboelectric effect, has been proven to be a cost-effective, simple and robust approach for self-powered systems. However, a general challenge is that the output current is usually low. Here, we demonstrated a rationally designed TENG with integrated rhombic gridding, which greatly improved the total current output owing to the structurally multiplied unit cells connected in parallel. With the hybridization of both the contact-separation mode and sliding electrification mode among nanowire arrays and nanopores fabricated onto the surfaces of two contact plates, the newly designed TENG produces an open-circuit voltage up to 428 V, and a short-circuit current of 1.395 mA with the peak power density of 30.7 W/m2. Relying on the TENG, a self-powered backpack was developed with a vibration-to-electric energy conversion efficiency up to 10.6%. And it was also demonstrated as a direct power source for instantaneously lighting up 40 commercial light-emitting diodes by harvesting the vibration energy from natural human walking. The newly designed TENG can be a mobile power source for field engineers, explorers, and disaster-relief workers.

Concepts: Electricity, Energy, Solar cell, Light-emitting diode, Joule, Volt, Power, Watt


Thermoelectric power generation is one of the most promising techniques to use the huge amount of waste heat and solar energy. Traditionally, high thermoelectric figure-of-merit, ZT, has been the only parameter pursued for high conversion efficiency. Here, we emphasize that a high power factor (PF) is equivalently important for high power generation, in addition to high efficiency. A new n-type Mg2Sn-based material, Mg2Sn0.75Ge0.25, is a good example to meet the dual requirements in efficiency and output power. It was found that Mg2Sn0.75Ge0.25 has an average ZT of 0.9 and PF of 52 μW⋅cm(-1)⋅K(-2) over the temperature range of 25-450 °C, a peak ZT of 1.4 at 450 °C, and peak PF of 55 μW⋅cm(-1)⋅K(-2) at 350 °C. By using the energy balance of one-dimensional heat flow equation, leg efficiency and output power were calculated with Th = 400 °C and Tc = 50 °C to be of 10.5% and 6.6 W⋅cm(-2) under a temperature gradient of 150 °C⋅mm(-1), respectively.

Concepts: Energy, Temperature, Thermodynamics, Heat, Entropy, Heat transfer, Thermoelectric effect, Watt


Mechanical energy harvesters are needed for diverse applications, including self-powered wireless sensors, structural and human health monitoring systems, and the extraction of energy from ocean waves. We report carbon nanotube yarn harvesters that electrochemically convert tensile or torsional mechanical energy into electrical energy without requiring an external bias voltage. Stretching coiled yarns generated 250 watts per kilogram of peak electrical power when cycled up to 30 hertz, as well as up to 41.2 joules per kilogram of electrical energy per mechanical cycle, when normalized to harvester yarn weight. These energy harvesters were used in the ocean to harvest wave energy, combined with thermally driven artificial muscles to convert temperature fluctuations to electrical energy, sewn into textiles for use as self-powered respiration sensors, and used to power a light-emitting diode and to charge a storage capacitor.

Concepts: Energy, Torque, Mass, Carbon nanotube, Capacitor, Joule, Volt, Watt


The design and testing of LED lamps are vital steps toward broader use of LED lighting for outdoor illumination and traffic signalling. The characteristics of LED sources, in combination with the need to limit light pollution and power consumption, require a precise optical design. In particular, in every step of the process, it is important to closely compare theoretical or simulated results with measured data (obtained from a prototype). This work examines the various possibilities for using an optical CAD (Lambda Research TracePro) to design and check a LED lamp for outdoor use. This analysis includes the simulations and testing on a prototype as an example; data acquired by measurement are inserted into the same simulation software, making it easy to compare theoretical and actual results.

Concepts: Light-emitting diode, Lighting, Incandescent light bulb, LED lamp, Compact fluorescent lamp, Energy conservation, Watt, Lamps


Efficient thermoelectric energy conversion is both crucial and challenging, and requires new material candidates by design. From first principles simulations, we identify that a “star-like” SnSe nanotube - with alternating dense and loose rings along the tube direction - gives rise to an ultra-low lattice thermal conductivity, 0.18 W m(-1) K(-1) at 750 K, and a large Seebeck coefficient, compared with single crystal SnSe. The power factor of the p-type SnSe nanotube reaches its maximum value of 235 μW cm(-1) K(-2) at a moderate doping level of around 10(20)-10(21) cm(-3). The p-type nanotube shows better thermoelectric properties than the n-type one. The phonon anharmonic scattering rate of the SnSe nanotube is larger than that of the SnSe crystal. All of these factors lead to an exceptional figure-of-merit (ZT) value of 3.5-4.6 under the optimal conditions, compared to 0.6-2.6 for crystalline SnSe. Such a large ZT value should lead to a six-fold increase in the energy conversion efficiency to about 30%.

Concepts: Crystal, Energy, Thermodynamics, Energy conversion, Phonon, Thermoelectric effect, Watt, Power factor


This paper presents a new control strategy based on finite-control-set model-predictive control (FCS-MPC) for Neutral-point-clamped (NPC) three-level converters. Containing some advantages like fast dynamic response, easy inclusion of constraints and simple control loop, makes the FCS-MPC method attractive to use as a switching strategy for converters. However, the large amount of required calculations is a problem in the widespread of this method. In this way, to resolve this problem this paper presents a modified method that effectively reduces the computation load compare with conventional FCS-MPC method and at the same time does not affect on control performance. The proposed method can be used for exchanging power between electrical grid and DC resources by providing active and reactive power compensations. Experiments on three-level converter for three Power Factor Correction (PFC), inductive and capacitive compensation modes verify the good and comparable performance. The results have been simulated using MATLAB/SIMULINK software.

Concepts: Mathematics, Electrical engineering, Control engineering, Power, Switched-mode power supply, Watt, Electricity distribution, Three-phase electric power