When will my laptop be totally wireless, even to recharge the battery? The future might be sooner than we thought, and Nanotechnology will be part of it.
There are many types of Wireless Energy Transmission although none of them have gone further than a prototype. For home use, powerbeaming could be the technology to free our portable devices from wires. Powerbeaming works based on a Laser system at one end that beams to a Solar Cell at the other end that transforms light into a DC current.
Current lasers have a 30-60% efficiency that combined with a 40-50% efficiency of solar cells, brings the overall efficiency at a maximum of 30%, still not too bad compared with electric bulbs. But Nanotechnology might boost these efficiencies at both ends.
Solid-state lightning promises up to 100% efficiency to convert electricity into light, once that we have atomically precise manufacturing technologies to arrange light-emitting building blocks in a controlled manner.
Today’s CIGS, CdTE or thin-film silicon are bringing down prices of Solar Cells. The ability to manufacture defect-free nanomaterials would improve efficiency at an exponential rate. With laptops foreseen to be equipped with solar cells in less than 10 years, solid-state lightning beams could be a wireless replacement to a wall socket.
Picture from Wikipedia: NASA prototype of lightweight plane powered by a laser beam and a solar cell.