Challenging the long-held principles of magnetic coupling, new research has shown that it is possible to create extremely asymmetrical coupling between two magnetic elements.
The study was led by Dr. Jordi Prat-Camps from the University of Sussex and also included other researchers from the University of Innsbruck and the Austrian Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Prat-Camps claims that his team has made a device that acts as a diode for magnetic fields.
In their earlier research, the team tried to discover new methods to control and manipulate the magnetic fields by using metamaterials. After much hard work, they found new tools to control magnetism, including wormholes, magnetic concentrators, and magnetic undetectability cloaks.
In the new study, researchers attempted to find a way to break reciprocity for magnetic fields. The magnetostatic reciprocity principle has remained unchallenged for years, and according to this principle, the magnetostatic interaction is symmetric (reciprocal).
For their experiments, researchers used a linear, isotropic electrically conductive material moving with constant velocity. They solved Maxwell's equations analytically and found that it was indeed possible to circumvent the magnetostatic reciprocity principle and realise a diode for magnetic fields.
The results also showed that the coupling between two magnetic elements could be made maximally asymmetric. In other words, the coupling from a magnetic element A to another magnetic element B would not be exactly zero, but from B to A it would be just zero.
Principles of magnetic coupling have emerged from four Maxwell equations that were derived in the 19th century.
To demonstrate their theoretical results, researchers designed an experimental device - comprising of two coils located near a moving conductor - which confirmed their findings.
The team hopes their findings could lead to designing of new devices offering more efficient recharging of batteries in cars, laptops, and mobile phones.
Symmetric coupling in coils results in flowing of some part of the energy in the opposite direction, which reduces the efficiency of the transfer to some extent. A magnetic diode will prevent this flow of energy in backward direction, thereby greatly enhancing the efficiency of the transfer.
"If our result for magnetic fields would have one millionth of the same impact as the developments in electric diodes, it would be a hugely impactful success." said Dr. Prat-Camps.
"Thanks to our discovery we think it might be possible to improve and the performance of wireless power transfer technologies to improve the efficiency of recharging phones, laptops, and even cars," he added.
The findings of the study are published in journal Physical Review Letters.
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