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[ars technica] A magnetic quantum ratchet made of graphene turns AC to DC

post #1 of 14
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Quote:
Researchers have now fabricated a magnetic quantum ratchet out of graphene, a two-dimensional hexagonal lattice of carbon atoms. C. Drexler and colleagues introduced asymmetries in the electronic structure by disrupting graphene's structure with hydrogen and modifying the substrate on which the carbon sat. When they exposed the modified graphene to an alternating electric current and a strong magnetic field, its electrons preferentially moved in one direction, setting up a directed current. So the modified graphene acted as an AC/DC converter. Although it's not practically useful, the behavior may tell us more about the rules that govern graphene-like materials.


Not practically useful? This could change the PSU market forever!
post #2 of 14
Not really useful because the problem is DC-AC and DC-DC, not AC-DC. That's why mains are AC mostly.
   
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post #3 of 14
AC-DC tech is already extremely advanced. The only way this would be useful is if it helps get us closer to 100% conversion efficiency from the 95+% we currently stand at for top-end power supplies.
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post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Artikbot View Post

Not really useful because the problem is DC-AC and DC-DC, not AC-DC. That's why mains are AC mostly.

So what exactly is the "problem" of DC-AC and DC-DC, both of which have been accomplished for a long time? Main lines are AC because of loss and only loss. You also can't crank up the voltage for DC like you do for AC to further minimize those losses. Hence why Edison stations were all over the place when people were piping DC into their homes.
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post #5 of 14
Usefulness would be determined by efficiency and size. If this takes a chunk of this stuff the size of a house to power a PC even at 100% efficiency it's not going to be worth it.
post #6 of 14
This is a long way from better PSU's.
Quote:
The electric current was from a 3.34 terahertz (3.34 THz, or 3.34 × 1012 Hz) electromagnetic wave, which falls at the border between microwave and infrared light; household alternating current in the US is 60 Hz. Similarly, the magnetic field the researchers used was 7 teslas, more than twice the strength of a powerful MRI magnet.

Unless the household of the future has a superconducting magnet and a HAARP antenna in every garage, this gizmo will stay in the lab for the foreseeable future.
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by willis888 View Post

This is a long way from better PSU's.
Unless the household of the future has a superconducting magnet and a HAARP antenna in every garage, this gizmo will stay in the lab for the foreseeable future.

If they do get it so household appliances, electronics, and computers can use it, I would be expecting to see PicoPSU sized power supplies as standard. tongue.gif That's going to be a long way off.
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post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by HybridCore View Post

If they do get it so household appliances, electronics, and computers can use it, I would be expecting to see PicoPSU sized power supplies as standard. tongue.gif That's going to be a long way off.

Nah...I am still holding out for RF powered computers...imagine having no power supply...with wireless monitors, USB devices, and speakers. NO CABLES OF ANY KIND. It would be so...beautiful.
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post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vagrant Storm View Post

Nah...I am still holding out for RF powered computers...imagine having no power supply...with wireless monitors, USB devices, and speakers. NO CABLES OF ANY KIND. It would be so...beautiful.

I don't trust wireless 100%. I go wired when I can because as of now, it's better for things like transfer speeds and such. For convenience, I'm debating. For things like wireless gamepads, I hate having to change out or recharge the battery every time.
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post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thereoncewasamaninparis View Post

So what exactly is the "problem" of DC-AC and DC-DC, both of which have been accomplished for a long time? Main lines are AC because of loss and only loss. You also can't crank up the voltage for DC like you do for AC to further minimize those losses. Hence why Edison stations were all over the place when people were piping DC into their homes.

The problem is ease and cost. High voltage DC-DC transformers have been made, but those advances were only made recently, and cost more.

DC-AC is harder to do than AC-DC. DC-AC converters are at least 2-3 times the size of equivalent power supplies, just look at DC-AC car inverters and AC-DC computer power supplies
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