Scientists Show 10x Efficiency Increase in Harvesting Energy From Noise

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Non-Linear Optical Cavity

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Two mirrors with a drop of oil in between kind a non-linear optical cavity, in which stochastic resonance was observed. By regulating the position on among the mirrors, the laser light (approaching from the left) is become a signal (right). An maximum quantity of sound enhances this signal when the conditions of stochastic resonance have actually been fulfilled. Credit: AMOLF

Scientists Unravel Noise-Assisted Signal Amplification in Systems With Memory

Signals can be magnified by an optimal quantity of sound, however this so-called stochastic resonance is a rather vulnerable phenomenon. Researchers at AMOLF were the very first to examine the function of memory for this phenomenon in an oil-filled optical microcavity. The results of sluggish non-linearity (i.e. memory) on stochastic resonance were never ever thought about previously, however these experiments recommend that stochastic resonance ends up being robust to variations in the signal frequency when systems have memory. This has ramifications in numerous fields of physics and energy innovation. In specific, the researchers numerically reveal that presenting sluggish non-linearity in a mechanical oscillator harvesting energy from sound can increase its performance by significantly. They released their findings in Physical Review Letters on May 27th.

It is difficult to focus on an uphill struggle when 2 individuals are having a loud conversation right beside you. However, total silence is frequently not the very best option. Whether it is some soft music, remote traffic sound or the hum of individuals talking in the range, for lots of people, an optimal quantity of sound allows them to focus much better. “This is the human equivalent of stochastic resonance,” states AMOLF group leader Said Rodriguez. “In our scientific labs stochastic resonance happens in non-linear systems that are bistable. This means that, for a given input, the output can switch between two possible values. When the input is a periodic signal, the response of a non-linear system can be amplified by an optimum amount of noise using the stochastic resonance condition.”

Ice ages

In the 1980’s stochastic resonance was proposed as a description for the reoccurrence of glacial epoch. Since then, it has actually been observed in numerous natural and technological systems, however this wide-spread observation postures a puzzle to researchers. Rodriguez: “Theory suggests that stochastic resonance can only occur at a very specific signal frequency. However, many noise-embracing systems live in environments where signal frequencies fluctuate. For example, it has been shown that certain fish prey on plankton by detecting a signal they emit, and that an optimum amount of noise enhances the fish’s ability to detect that signal through the phenomenon of stochastic resonance. But how can this effect survive fluctuations in the signal frequency occurring in such complex environments?”

Memory results

Rodriguez and his PhD trainee Kevin Peters who is the very first author of the paper, were the very first to show that memory results should be considered to fix this puzzle. “The theory of stochastic resonance assumes that non-linear systems respond instantaneously to an input signal. However, in reality most systems respond to their environment with a certain delay and their response depends on all that happened before,” he states. Such memory results are challenging to explain in theory and to manage experimentally, however the Interacting Photons group at AMOLF has actually now handled both. Rodriguez: “We have added a controlled amount of noise to a beam of laser light and have shined it on a tiny cavity filled with oil, which is a non-linear system. The light causes the temperature of the oil to rise, and its optical properties to change, but not immediately. It takes about ten microseconds, thus the system is non-instantaneous as well. In our experiments, we have shown for the first time that stochastic resonance can occur over a broad range of signal frequencies when memory effects are present.”

Energy harvesting

Having hence revealed that the prevalent event of stochastic resonance might be because of yet undetected memory characteristics, the scientists hope that their outcomes will influence associates in a number of other fields of science to look for memory results in in their own systems. To extend the effect of their findings, Rodriguez and his group have actually in theory examined the results of non-instantaneous reaction on mechanical systems for energy harvesting. “Small piezo-electric devices that harvest energy from vibrations are useful when battery replacement is difficult, for example in pacemakers or other biomedical devices,” he describes. “We have found a tenfold increase in the amount of energy that could be harvested from environmental vibrations, if memory effects would have been incorporated.”

The apparent next action for the group is to broaden their system with a number of linked oil-filled cavities and examine cumulative habits emerging from sound. Rodriguez does not fear stepping outside his clinical convenience zone. He states: “It would be great if we could team up with researchers that have expertise in mechanical oscillators. If we can implement our memory effects in those systems, the impact on energy technology will be enormous.”

Reference: “Extremely Broadband Stochastic Resonance of Light and Enhanced Energy Harvesting Enabled by Memory Effects in the Nonlinear Response” by K. J. H. Peters, Z. Geng, K. Malmir, J. M. Smith and S. R. K. Rodriguez, 27 May 2021, Physical Review Letters.
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.126.213901



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