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Vortex rectenna powered by environmental fluctuations:Professor Eiji Saito, Department of Applied Physics, and other researchers.

A rectenna, standing for a rectifying antenna, is an apparatus which generates d.c. electricity from electric fluctuations. It is expected to realize wireless power transmission as well as energy harvesting from environmental radio waves. To realize such rectification, devices that are made up of internal atomic asymmetry such as an asymmetric junction have been necessary so far. Here we report a material that spontaneously generates electricity by rectifying environmental fluctuations without using atomic asymmetry. The sample is a common superconductor without lowered crystalline symmetry, but, just by putting it in an asymmetric magnetic environment, it turns into a rectifier and starts generating electricity. Superconducting vortex strings only annihilate and nucleate at surfaces, and this allows the bulk electrons to feel surface fluctuations in an asymmetric environment: a vortex rectenna. The rectification and generation can be switched on and off with only a slight change in temperature or external magnetic fields.


Nature Communications: