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Micro rectennas: Brownian ratchets for thermal-energy harvesting

Pan, Y.; Powell, C.V.; Song, A.M.; Balocco, C.

Micro rectennas: Brownian ratchets for thermal-energy harvesting Thumbnail


Y. Pan

C.V. Powell

A.M. Song


We experimentally demonstrated the operation of a rectenna for harvesting thermal (blackbody) radiation and converting it into dc electric power. The device integrates an ultrafast rectifier, the self-switching nanodiode, with a wideband log-periodic spiral microantenna. The radiation from the thermal source drives the rectenna out of thermal equilibrium, permitting the rectification of the excess thermal fluctuations from the antenna. The power conversion efficiency increases with the source temperatures up to 0.02% at 973 K. The low efficiency is attributed mainly to the impedance mismatch between antenna and rectifier, and partially to the large field of view of the antenna. Our device not only opens a potential solution for harvesting thermal energy but also provides a platform for experimenting with Brownian ratchets.


Pan, Y., Powell, C., Song, A., & Balocco, C. (2014). Micro rectennas: Brownian ratchets for thermal-energy harvesting. Applied Physics Letters, 105(25), Article 253901.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 15, 2014
Online Publication Date Dec 23, 2014
Publication Date Dec 22, 2014
Deposit Date Jan 17, 2015
Publicly Available Date Jan 29, 2015
Journal Applied Physics Letters
Print ISSN 0003-6951
Electronic ISSN 1077-3118
Publisher American Institute of Physics
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 105
Issue 25
Article Number 253901
Keywords Antennas, Direct current power transmission, Thermal radiation, Boltzmann equations, Resistors.


Published Journal Article (1.3 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2014 American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics. The following article appeared in Applied Physics Letters 105, 253901 (2014) and may be found at

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