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Micro rectennas : Brownian ratchets for thermal-energy harvesting.

By Y. Pan, C.V. Powell, A.M. Song and C. Balocco


We experimentally demonstrated the operation of a rectenna for harvesting thermal (blackbody) radiation and converting it into dc electric power. The device integrates an ultrafast rectifier, the self-switching nanodiode, with a wideband log-periodic spiral microantenna. The radiation from the thermal source drives the rectenna out of thermal equilibrium, permitting the rectification of the excess thermal fluctuations from the antenna. The power conversion efficiency increases with the source temperatures up to 0.02% at 973 K. The low efficiency is attributed mainly to the impedance mismatch between antenna and rectifier, and partially to the large field of view of the antenna. Our device not only opens a potential solution for harvesting thermal energy but also provides a platform for experimenting with Brownian ratchets

Topics: Antennas, Direct current power transmission, Thermal radiation, Boltzmann equations, Resistors.
Publisher: American Institute of Physics
Year: 2014
DOI identifier: 10.1063/1.4905089
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