Wireless Charging of Handheld Devices and Data Connectivity using Antenna and Circuit Technologies

Wireless power transmission (WPT) can be defined as the transfer technique of electrical power from a power source to a consuming device such as a tooth brush, mobile phone or tablet without any cables or wires. This novel approach for device charging is now becoming a primary area of research and development for industrial companies all around the world. Some examples include Braun, Thales, Samsung, and the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA).

WPT can be realized by a number of different antenna and circuit technologies that employ electromagnetic (EM) fields. One promising approach controls and directs EM fields far away from the source enabling power transmission and data communications, and without the need of conventional cables. In this radiative scheme in the far-field, power is transmitted by beams of electromagnetic radiation with power levels that are safe. Similarly to approaches used for smart phone communications and laser beams. More importantly, this technique can safely transport energy over longer distances, however it requires accurate and cleverly designed antennas and circuits to efficiently transfer the power from the transmitter terminal to the device being charged.

The main objective of the project is to investigate, develop, and demonstrate these innovative WPT concepts for new and different applications. For example, to charge mobile devices for passengers that are moving within a subway, bus, or airplane where more classic ‘wired’ approaches are not practical. Other applications include the wireless charging of small satellites and robots for space exploration. Moreover, in this project more classic detection and location approaches will also be studied to complement existing WPT techniques. This will enable new and innovative power transmission and data communication schemes. It is expected that a working model using circuits and antennas will be engineered and verified to demonstrate these new techniques for device charging and data communications.

The proposed project is part of a broader research activity at Heriot-Watt funded by Samsung and in collaboration with AER France. The project will be co-supervised by Professor George Goussetis and Dr. Symon K. Podilchak who are affiliated with the Microwave and Antenna Engineering Research Group. Many interactions with industry experts are expected throughout the project from Samsung, AER, and Thales.

Supervisor name: 
Symon K. Podilchak
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Project location: 
EM 2.02
Deputy name: 
George Goussetis