Thomas Thundat


Dr. Thomas Thundat is a Canada Excellence Research Chair professor at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.

He is also a Distinguished Professor (hon.) at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, and Centenary Professor at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. He is the author of over 380 publications in refereed journals, 45 book chapters, and 40 patents. Dr. Thundat is an elected Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), the Electrochemical Society (ECS), the American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the SPIE, and the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). Dr. Thundat’s research is currently focused on novel physical, chemical, and biological detection using micro and nano mechanical sensors and electrical power delivery using single wire concept.

Lecture Title: "Tesla's Dream and an Array of Inspiring Possibilities: From Internet of Things to Smart Cars"

Over the last twenty years we have developed a wide range of integrated nanomechanical sensors for the selective and sensitive detection of physical, chemical, and biological analytes. Networking a large number of sensors for simultaneously detect parameters and road/weather conditions could result in enhanced performance, reduced environmental footprint, and increased safety. However, locally powering these sensors and devices in a low maintenance, low cost, and energy efficient fashion for the integration into the Internet of Things and smart cities poses a formidable challenge. Over a century ago, Nikola Tesla proposed a different mode of electricity transmission using only a single wire without a return conductor. We have demonstrated a similar concept for delivering electrical power to all kinds of devices using single wire electrical standing waves with efficiency over 98%. The system can operate with a single connection to the power supply where the return path is completed through the stray capacitance. This allows objects to act as part of the “wire” allowing transmission over the surface and through dynamic joints in a safe and energy efficient fashion. Our new quasi wireless capacitive (QWiC) transfer concept is perfectly suited for applications in vehicles, robotics, factories, smart homes, wearables, and power suits. I will discuss these possibilities and touch on how such QWiC methods could be incorporated into manufacturing, agriculture, and transportation and seamlessly integrate with the multi-scale infrastructure of our world.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016, 9:30 – 11:00AM

Agrusa Auditorium, 101 Davis Hall