Current from oscillating graph
A team of physicists from the University of Arkansas reported on the development of a system that is able to detect thermal movements in the structure of graphs and convert them into electrical current. "The graph-based energy collection circuit can be integrated with a processor to provide clean, low-voltage energy for small devices or sensors," said Paul Thibado, professor of physics and lead author of a paper on the subject published in Physical Review E.
The prototype is intended to prove the theory developed three years ago at the same university that the wrinkled and moving surface of a layer of carbon atoms in graphite can be used to generate electricity. The idea of generating energy in this way is controversial because it disproves physicist Richard Feynman's claim that the thermal motions of atoms known as Brownian motions cannot work this way. The Thibado team found that at room temperature, thermal movements in graphite cause an electrical current in the circuit.
The system built by Thibado is based on two diodes that convert alternating current into direct current. In addition, they found that this design increased the output power. "We found that turning the diodes on and off increases the power supply, not decreases it as previously thought," says Thibado. "The rate of change in the resistance of the diodes is an additional power factor". It is estimated that such circuits, dispersed in large numbers in chips, could replace low-power batteries.