Mediums for wireless power transmission

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Literature Review


In the late 18th century, Nikola Tesla dreamt of communicating with the world of few towers around the globe. He researched in the field of pulsed wireless energy transfer in 1899. His dream not only had communicating with other parts of the world, but also transmitting a large amount of energy so that the people across the globe have power without wires. He had built coils which was capable of transmitting very large amount of energies wirelessly to distant places.

Employing Faraday's idea of Electromagnetic Induction, Tesla was able to transfer the power from one coil to another coil. And he demonstrated the world that power transfer can also be done without the use of wires. Hence he is called the “Father of Wireless transmission”. But, no documentation is done in favor of it by Tesla. So, the invention buried down in history. He had built a tower in his Colorado Springs lab near New York to have a “World Wireless System” to broadcast energy across the globe. But due to economic constraints, the work was stopped and tower was destroyed after a few years the lab was deserted.

After Tesla stopped his research on WPT, The field was given the least attention and inventions pertaining to communications were carried out more. The power transmission is given less attention even today. The loss is more than 30% when energy transfer is done using conventional wires. Some measures are to be taken to prevent this loss and hence contribute to overcome energy crisis.

The same idea of wireless energy transmission on which Tesla was working on, has sprung back after hundred years. A team from MIT led by Marin Soljacic worked on wireless transmission of electricity for a small distance of about 2m. The team could successfully transfer energy without wires. With that, many companies have started working on wireless transfer of energy for short distance.

Mediums for Wireless Power Transmission:

In wireless power transmission we know of three possibilities to design a device. There are the use of antennas, inductive coupling, and laser power transfer. In addition, we had to be aware of how antennas and inductive coupling would be affected by the frequency we select.


Antennas are the traditional means of signal transmission and would likely work. In initial research, it appears that system utilizing antennas can receive power gains based upon the shape and design of the antenna. This would allow more power actually being sent and received while also have a small input power. The difficulty comes in the trade off of antenna size versus frequency. In attempting to stay in a lower frequency, one would be require using antennas of very large size.

Inductive Coupling

Inductive coupling does not have the need for large structures transfer power signals. Rather, inductive coupling makes use of inductive coils to transfer the power signals. Due to the use of coils rather than the antenna, the size of the actual transmitter and receiver can be made to fit the situation better. The tradeoff is for the benefit of custom size, there will be a poor gain on the solenoid transmitter and receiver.

Laser Power Transmission

The concept of laser power transmission is addressed in the research of NASA and NASDA solar programs. Lasers would allow for a very concentrated stream of power to be transferred from one point to another. Based upon available research material, it appears that this solution would be more practical for space to upper atmosphere or terrestrial power transmission. This option would not be valid to accomplish our tasks because light wavelengths are higher than the specified allowable operational frequencies.


After reviewing the possible solutions, antenna design was chosen as the best alternative. We believe that antenna design system will meet most of the design criteria in the designated time given to us. We also felt that our background and knowledge of electromagnetic fields and transformer theory would help us resolve any problems encountered during the design process.