This week, scientists use "lightning" to charge a mobile phone, supercapacitors see a positive forecast, the power semi market loses steam, and Bill Schweber presents a fundamentals course on energy management.
A proof-of-concept research experiment at the University of Southampton has demonstrated that a device such as a mobile phone -- in this case a Nokia Lumia 925 -- can be charged through the air from an energy simulation similar to a bolt of lightning. Scientists sent more than 200,000 Vac across a 300-mm gap to simulate the effect of a lightning bolt, and then used a transformer to step the signal down to allow charging of the phone. (See the image and video below.)
Simulated lightning -- in the form of over 200,000 Vac sent across a 300-mm gap -- was used to charge a mobile device in a proof-of-concept research project undertaken by scientists at the University of Southampton and Nokia.
A study by research firm Lux Research forecasts that the market for supercapacitors should more than double over the next five years to $836 million from $466 million in 2013. The report, "Power Play: Supercapacitor Innovation for Growth in Transportation and Electronics," predicts that most of the growth will come from their adoption in transportation applications like hybrid buses and micro-hybrids. Consumer applications and wind turbines will make up other significant opportunities.
Meanwhile, the power semiconductor market saw global revenue fall in 2012 by almost 16 percent, according to an upcoming report from market research firm IHS. The drop was attributed to a deceleration in consumer spending in the U.S. and Europe, along with a slowdown in energy initiatives in Asia, with the module segment of the market seeing a much steeper decline than discretes.
Recent product news includes a 5W USB wall power adapter from CUI that measures only 41 x 30 mm. The EPSA050100U-I38-EJ features Level V energy-efficiency compliance, a regulated 5-Vdc output, and a no-load power draw of less than 0.1 W.
Linear Technology announced a high-frequency high-side N-channel MOSFET gate driver designed to operate in applications with VIN voltages up to 80 V. The LTC4440A-5 can withstand and continue to operate during 100-V VIN transients. The company also introduced the LTC3255 switched-capacitor step-down DC/DC converter, which offers an adjustable 2.4 to 12.5-V regulated output from a 4 to 48-V input.
A power factor-corrected AC/DC LED driver from Diodes Incorporated targets offline LED lamp types including E26, GU10, PAR and T8. Using PFM and operating in boundary-conduction mode, the AP1684 features current regulation of ±2 percent, a power factor of 0.97, and THD of less than 20 percent.
Assmann WSW introduced stamped CPU heat sinks offering a combination of cross-cut and finger-shaped heat sinks. Available from electronics distributor Rutronik, the heat sinks are claimed to offer an improved air convection of up to 5 percent.
Finally, a free online fundamentals course on Fundamentals of Energy Management, presented by Bill Schweber, is now available. The course focuses on key aspects of the energy and the power chain -- distribution, consumption, and communications -- and covers topics including isolation, data integrity and security, standards, and other system-level issues.