I hold great hope for this concept.
From the abstract, it states as follows:
A nantenna electromagnetic collector (NEC) has been designed, prototyped, and tested. Proof of concept has been validated.
The NEC has moved forward further along in the product development cycle than polywell has gotten up to this moment.
Also stated in the abstract as follows:
Several factors were critical in successful implementation of NEC including:
1) frequency-dependent modeling of antenna elements;
2) selection of materials with proper THz properties; and
3) novel manufacturing methods that enable economical
The work represents an important step toward the ultimate realization of a low-cost device that will collect, as well as convert this radiation into electricity, which will lead to a wide spectrum, high conversion efficiency, and low-cost solution to complement conventional PVs.
With regard to point (1);
From reading the aforementioned paper, I don’t think that the NEC developers have discovered “fractal antenna” technology yet. Since fractal antennas (more specifically fractal element antennas (FEA) are still an exotic and unknown option to many, I believe that many who visit this site don’t appreciate what this type of antenna can do.
The NEC developers at INL are developing or will soon develop or may need to develop computerize modeling of candidate antenna designs.
This has already been done by a company called ” Fractal Antenna Systems, Inc.” See http://www.fractenna.com/nca_faq.html
From this FAQ as follows:
Q: What is the “FRAGO’ and why is it important?
A: The Fractal Genetic Optimizer is a computer-based optimizing tool which we use to help identify the best fractal designs for a given antenna or electronics problem. It uses a genetic algorithm (see Haupt and Haupt, 1996, Practical Genetic Algorithms, Wiley) to help find these best designs. At the core of our proprietary approach is a process using a fractal coding to compress the genome for a dramatic speedup of the search process, as well as a PC cluster. We operate anywhere from 100-1000 times faster than other GA based antenna optimizers and can investigate at a rate of close to 2 million antennas a month with a rack of 16 PC’s . FRAGO proves invaluable as a means to help customize an antenna need, for example. It is both a methodology and solution which goes beyond the trial and error needed to explore the huge design space of fractal geometric shapes. We are the only ones with FRAGO: we pioneered it (Cohen published the theory in 1997) and built it. And, we debugged it to make it work!
The NEC developers could use over 15 years of fractal antenna R&D if they only knew about it. Why reinvent the wheel. Fractal Antenna Systems, Inc. could layout the optimal infrared antenna design in short order if they were subcontracted to do so.
Fractal Antenna Systems, Inc also has the patent on the “fractal resonator” that can convert the alternating current produced by the antenna to direct current necessary to interface with the power grid.
From the FAC as follows:
However, at RF, the complexity of a fractal structure cannot be described simply as a ‘C’ in a ‘LC’ or ‘RLC’ circuit. It is an ‘LC’ or ‘RLC’ circuit and thus is defined as a fractal resonator. We thus recognized that a fractal capacitor was of limited interest or viability, but a fractal ‘LC’ circuit was important. Dr. Cohen first described the idea of a fractal resonator in his 1995 seminal paper. Additional disclosure occurred with the publication, in 1997, of one of our PCT applications (which is pending; watch for updates). It is protected by our patents and covered in patents pending. Our invention of fractal resonators establishes priority and defines what is now the prior art.
Think of a fractal resonator as a non-radiating, or poorly radiating, fractal antenna and you’ll get the idea of the possibilities. Remember, all antennas are themselves RLC circuits.
What do you think should be done here?