Graphene Circuit harvests Potential Energy
Research conducted nearly three years ago at the University of Arkansas has a breakthrough with an offshoot by discovering freestanding graphene, which is a single layer of carbon atoms, which ripples, and buckles in a way that holds potential energy harvesting capability. But the idea of harvesting capability of potential energy is around controversies because it does refute a well-known assertion from physicist Richard Feynman about the thermal motion of atoms, known as Brownian motion, cannot do work.
Amplifies Power rather than Reducing
However, at room temperature, researchers at the University found that the thermal motion of graphene does include an alternating current in the circuit. But it was not an acceptable achievement previously and was considered impossible. The researchers also discovered that the amount of power delivered by their design has been increased. The on-off, switch-like behaviour of the diodes was found by the researchers which amplify the power delivered rather than reducing it as per previous beliefs.
New Field of Physics: Stochastic Thermodynamics
And with the findings of the project, the scientists involved in the project were able to use a relatively new field of physics to prove diodes increase the circuit’s power. This new field emerged is called as the stochastic thermodynamics. A symbiotic relationship is shared by the graphene and the circuit as per the researchers. While the work is being performed by the thermal environment on the load resistor, graphene and circuit have the same temperature resulting in no heat flow between these two. And that’s what is an important discovery as if the graphene and circuit if had different temperatures, would have been a violation of the second law of thermodynamics.
The graphene animations can be seen in the video below.
A current in the circuit at low frequency is induced by the relatively slow motion of graphene, which is among the other discoveries in the research, which is an important aspect from a technological perspective. This is important because most of our electronics equipment works more efficiently at a low frequency. And this research has furthermore objectives for the future, namely, can the DC be stored in a capacitor for later use and miniaturization of equipment.