Industrial Electronics

Video: Rectenna harvests energy from 5G networks

05 April 2021

An opportunity to scavenge the electromagnetic energy from 5G signals has been developed by Georgia Institute of Technology engineers. A rectifying antenna has been 3D-printed to exploit 5G networks as wireless power grids, harvesting energy to power internet of things (IoT) devices.

The flexible Rotman lens-based rectifying antenna, or rectenna, system is designed to tap millimeter-waves in the 28 GHz band. Millimeter-wave energy harvesting has been possible for some time but largely impractical as long-range power harvesting tends to require large rectifying antennas. The larger the The fabricated Rotman lens structure. Source: Aline Eid et al.The fabricated Rotman lens structure. Source: Aline Eid et al.rectennae, the narrower its field of view becomes, necessitating redirection of the device right at the wave energy source.

With the new technology, all the electromagnetic energy collected by the antenna arrays from one direction is combined and fed into a single rectifier, which maximizes its efficiency. Similar to an optical lens, the Rotman lens provides six fields of view simultaneously in a spider-shaped pattern with one angle of curvature on the beam-port side and another on the antenna side. This enables the structure to map a set of selected radiation directions to an associated set of beam-ports, enabling operation of the lens as an intermediate component between the receiving antennas and the rectifiers for 5G energy harvesting.

The result is a system with both high gain and large beamwidth capable of 21-fold increase in power collection relative to a referenced counterpart offering the same angular coverage.

A paper on this research is published in Scientific Reports.

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