A team of physicists from the University of Arkansas has developed a circuit capable of trapping the thermal motion of graphene and converting it into electrical current. They learned to extract energy from the thermal motion of carbon atoms.
The scientists’ experiment showed that under the influence of eternal chaotic thermal motion inside graphene, a single fixed plate of this substance one carbon atom thick slowly vibrates and bends.
“A graphene-based energy-saving circuit can be built into a chip to provide clean, limitless, low-voltage power for small devices or sensors,” said Paul Tibado, a physics professor who participated in the experiment.
To convert the vibrations of graphene and the resulting alternating current into direct current, physicists from Arkansas proposed a circuit with two diodes. This experiment proved that the circuit generates additional power at the load. According to the researchers, based on their methodology, one can create “a million different schemes.”
Earlier, the idea of harvesting energy from graphene was controversial because it refutes the famous assertion of physicist Richard Feynman that the thermal motion of atoms, known as Brownian motion, cannot produce energy. However, the team found that at room temperature, the thermal motion of graphene actually causes an alternating current in the circuit.
“We redirected the current in the circuit and turned it into something useful. The next goal of the team is to determine if a constant current can be stored in a capacitor for later use. This goal requires miniaturizing the circuit and applying it to a silicon wafer or die. If millions of these tiny circuits could be built on a 1-by-1 millimeter microcircuit, they could replace a low-power battery, ”the scientists noted.