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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Every laptop comes with a power adapter, a clunky black box on the power cord that converts the alternating current (AC) in the outlet to the direct current (DC) that feeds the computer. The U.S. Army, which puts a premium on size and weight, is funding research to create smaller, lighter power converters—suitable for low-power devices that require a small package size, such as wireless sensors, biomedical implants, or communications devices.
Mark Griep, Govind Mallick, and Shashi Karna of the U.S. Army Research Lab, in collaboration with Pulickel Ajayan of Rice University, have developed a new diode rectifier made of single-walled carbon nanotubes only the width of a human hair. It demonstrates a power conversion efficiency of 20 percent, comparable to larger MOSFET diodes. "Another potential application is low voltage energy harvesting" said Karna.
The American Physical Society is the leading professional organization of physicists, representing more than 48,000 physicists in academia and industry in the United States and internationally. APS has offices in College Park, MD (Headquarters), Ridge, NY, and Washington, D.C.
Headquartered in College Park, MD, the American Institute of Physics is a not-for-profit membership corporation chartered in New York State in 1931 for the purpose of promoting the advancement and diffusion of the knowledge of physics and its application to human welfare.