A University of Arkansas research team has successfully built a circuit that can capture and transform the thermal motion of graphene into an electrical current.
Physicists claim that a graphene-based energy-harvesting circuit may be integrated into a chip to provide small devices and sensors with clean, infinite, low-voltage power.
The discovery is an offshoot of research undertaken at the University of Arkansas three years ago that discovered the freestanding graphene, which is a single layer of carbon atoms, ripples, and buckles in a manner that carries the possible capacity to produce energy.
The theory was disputed because it refutes physicist Richard Feynman's well-known claim that the thermal motion of atoms, known as Brownian motion, can not function.
University researchers, however, discovered that graphene thermal movement produces an alternating current in a circuit at room temperature.
The feat was previously considered to be unlikely. Researchers also discovered that the amount of power delivered increased by their design.
Researchers claim they have learned that the diodes' on-off, switch-like activity amplifies the power delivered rather than minimising it as previously assumed.
The researchers on the project have been able to use a comparatively recent area of physics to show that diodes improve the strength of the circuit. This new field is called thermodynamic stochastic.
Researchers suggest that a symbiotic bond is shared between graphene and the circuit.
The graphene and circuit are at the same temperature as the thermal environment does work on the load capacitor, and heat does not flow between the two.
That is a major finding because the second law of thermodynamics would dispute a temperature differential between the two.
Other results include that graphene's relatively slow motion produces a low frequency current in the circuit, which is important from a technological perspective.
It's necessary because, at lower frequencies, electronics perform more effectively.
The next goal is to decide whether it is possible to store the DC current for later use in a capacitor.
It is also intended for miniaturisation.