Solar Cells for Wireless Charging
Researchers at Princeton University are developing technology that could lead to widespread wireless charging stations for all our electronics. This technology could also help build better sensors to monitor the health of both humans and buildings. The research was presented by students L. Huang, Y. Hu, W. Rieutort-Louis, and J. Sanz-Robinson (advised by Profs. Naveen Verma, James Sturm, and Sigurd Wagner) at the IEEE Symposia on VLSI Technology and Circuits held in Hawaii in June 2012. Their research focuses on using the thin films of amorphous silicon to make solar cells and, for the first time, to build circuits to handle the electricity the solar cells produce. The circuits contain two solar cells, capacitors, and n-type TFTs, to generate an alternating-current power signal that can enable wireless charging of load devices. The team also presented research at the conference combining thin-film solar cells with thin-film electronic circuitry for power management, readout, processing, and communications in a new type of structural sensor for buildings.