A research team from Sejong University in South Korea has demonstrated a new system which uses infrared light to safely transfer high levels of power. Laboratory tests showed that it could transfer 400 mW of light power over distances of up to 30 meters. This power is sufficient for charging sensors, and with further development, it could be increased to levels necessary to charge mobile devices.

Distributed laser charging works somewhat like a traditional laser, but instead of the optical components of the laser cavity being integrated into one device, they are separated into a transmitter and receiver. When the transmitter and receiver are within a line of sight, a laser cavity is formed between them over the air—or free space—which allows the system to deliver light-based power. If an obstacle cuts the transmitter-receiver line of sight, the system automatically switches to a power-safe mode, achieving hazard-free power delivery in the air.

Now that they have demonstrated the system, the researchers are working to make it more practical. For example, the efficiency of the photovoltaic cell could be increased to better convert light into electrical power. They also plan to develop a way to use the system to charge multiple receivers simultaneously. Read the full article here.