Antenna startup enhances wireless charging

April 28, 2016 // By Peter Clarke
NuCurrent Blue
NuCurrent Inc. (Chicago, Illinois), a startup founded in 2009 to provide wireless charging technology for medical applications, has established itself as technology and IP provider for consumer wireless charging.

The company has raised $5 million to date and is looking to raise more funds in 2016 to support expansion of its products and od its operations to more locations.

NuCurrent's differentiation is that it applies multi-path loops for wireless charging antennas typically sometimes embedded in multilayer printed circuit boards (PCBs). This is done to increase surface area and minimize equivalent series resistance, which in turn raises the quality factor (Q-factor) of the antennas. Having started back in 2009 the company has developed a significant intellectual property with 20 patents granted and 50 applied for.

Jacob Babcock
Jacob Babcock, CEO of NuCurrent

Jacob Babcock, co-founder and CEO of NuCurrent, said that the company's technology produces Q-factors that are 20 to 60 percent higher than competitors' antennas operating at the same distance and frequency. The company’s ac-to-ac efficiency of energy transfer is typically above 90 percent although end-to-end efficiency will also include dc-to-ac and ac-to-dc converters.

"With multiple conductive paths there is also complexity, mutual inductance and coupling and so on. We have very good in-house modelling software which enables us to develop custom antenna optimized for an application," Babcock told EE Times Europe .

Babcock added that many customers are interested in a complete modular solutions rather than just an antenna and the company has started developing such solutions. Other companies want to control their own manufacturing leading to some technology licensing deals. "But primarily our business model is a product sales business model," he said.

NuCurrent produces antenna that are compliant across Wireless Power Consortium (Qi) and AirFuel Alliance (formally PMA and A4WP standards). The company works with electronic device OEMs and integrators to custom-design, rapid-prototype and integrate high Q-factor antennas and modules for a broad range of applications. In 2012, NuCurrent introduced its wireless power antennas in both the infrastructure (i.e. walls, tables) and consumer electronics (phones, tablets, etc.) market segments.

NuCurrent also received about $3.5 million in a Series