Wireless Power Feeding with Strongly Coupled Magnetic Resonance for a Flying Object


Wireless power feeding was examined with strongly coupled magnetic resonance for an object moving in 3-D space. Electric power was transmitted from the ground to an electrically powered toy helicopter in the air. A lightweight receiver resonator was developed using copper foil. High Q of greater than 200 was obtained. One-side impedance matching the transmitter side was proposed to cope with high transmission efficiency and the receiver’s weight reduction. Results show that the efficiency drop near the ground was drastically improved. Moreover, the measured efficiency showed good agreement with theoretical predictions. A fully equipped helicopter of 6.56 g weight was lifted up with source power of about 5 W to an altitude of approximately 10 cm.

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M. Koizumi, K. Komurasaki, Y. Mizuno and Y. Arakawa, "Wireless Power Feeding with Strongly Coupled Magnetic Resonance for a Flying Object," Wireless Engineering and Technology, Vol. 3 No. 2, 2012, pp. 86-89. doi: 10.4236/wet.2012.32014.

1. Introduction

Magnetic resonance power feeding, a unique wireless power transmission technology, is now in demand in various fields. In 2007 and 2008, an MIT group reported wireless power transmission theory based on optics and photonic crystal theories, explaining it as a phenomenon caused by near-field evanescent waves [1,2]. One feature of this technology is its high transmission efficiency at meter-order distance [3], which will enable feeding of power in applications such as electric cars, micro-robots, and battery-less sensors.

A formula for the transmission efficiency can be derived from electric circuit theory [4]. Efficiency is expressed as a function of a Figure-of-Merit (fom) fom = kQ under an impedance-matched condition. Here, k and Q respectively denote the induction coupling coefficient and coil quality factor. The formula is valid for magnetic resonance power transmission and for inductive power transmission.

A remarkable feature of wireless power transmission with strongly coupled magnetic resonance is its effectiveness at mid-ranges, which is several times greater than the resonator diameter. This feature enables wireless power feeding to a mobile object moving freely in a three-dimensional space. This report describes a powerfeeding demonstration to an electrically powered helicopter. The objective is development of an efficient, compact, and lightweight resonator, with validation of the impedance-matching theory through the demonstration.

2. Impedance Matching Theory

Impedance matching, adjustment of the impedance ratio, is conducted in antenna tuners using variable capacitor units and inductive transformers to maintain high transmission efficiency. In the helicopter application, the coupling coefficient k varies dynamically because of the helicopter’s altitude change; both very low Ohm loss and a wide range of impedance transformation are necessary for strongly coupled magnetic resonance.

Considering the power transmission from a resonator with quality factor QS, impedance Z0, and resonance frequency ω0 to another resonator with QD, Z0, and ω0 at the AC frequency of ω, then the transmission efficiency can be derived using Kirchhoff’s second law as shown below [4].


Therein, rS and rD respectively represent ratios of the source’s and device’s impedance Z0S and Z0D to the resonator resistance RS and RD, defined as



In the ω-rS-rD domain, η reaches its maximum value under conditions of



. (4)

Then, maximum efficiency is expressed as

. (5)

A typical resonant coupling system with input and output inductive transformers is presented in Figure 1. The excitation coil is inductively coupled to the transmitter resonator, and the pickup coil is connected to the receiver resonator. rS and rD are adjustable by changing their respective coupling coefficients kS and kD.

Figure 2 portrays an equivalent circuit of the system. The source impedance ratio is transformed to kSZ0S/RS. The device impedance ratio is transformed to kDZ0D/RD.

One-side impedance matching is one means to simplify the receiver device. The transmitter takes the optimum impedance ratio, although the receiver impedance ratio is not controlled. The theoretical efficiency of oneside control η1 is expressed as [5]

. (6)

The theoretical transmission efficiencies indicated in Equations (1), (5), and (6) are depicted in Figure 3 for

Figure 1. Power transmission system with input and output inductive transformers. From left, an excitation coil, a transmitter resonator, a receiver resonator, and a pickup coil.

Figure 2. Equivalent circuit of the power transmission system with input and output inductive transformers.

QS = QD = 200. When the impedance ratio is matched, then the transmission efficiency is improved, especially at a short transmission distance.

3. Loop Resonator

A high Q, compact, and lightweight receiver resonator is necessary to make a helicopter fly without a battery. For this study, a resonator was fabricated consisting of a rectangular loop and a mica condenser. It was composed of a copper pipe with 4 mm outer diameter to reduce its weight. The loop side length and the mica condenser capacitance were selected for the resonator to have a resonance frequency exactly equal to 40.68 MHz, which is the power source AC frequency.

Table 1 presents specifications of the receiver resonator along with those of the transmitter resonator whose structure was the same as that of the receiver. As the table shows, the dielectric loss and ohmic loss in the mica capacitor was the predominant energy loss mechanism limiting Q for both resonators.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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[2] A. Karalis, J. D. Joannopoulos and M. Solja?i?, “Efficient Wireless Non-Radiative Mid-Range Energy Transfer,” Annals of Physics, Vol. 323, No. 1, 2008, pp. 34-48. doi:10.1016/j.aop.2007.04.017
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