New Power Amp Tech May Double Cell Phone Battery Life
Two MIT electrical engineering professors claim to have made a breakthrough in power amplifier design that could lead to major gains in the power efficiency of cell phones. Joel Dawson and David Perreault, working for an MIT spinout company called Eta Devices, have figured out how to manipulate the power needed by cell phones when in standby mode to improve battery life. Power amplifiers operate in low-power standby modes (receiving) and high-power output modes (transmitting). In modern devices, however, the standby mode is kept at an elevated state in order to prevent signal distortions that occur when the devices jump from low-power to high-power. Keeping the standby mode at an elevated state wastes power. Eta Designs has created a way to rev the standby mode up and down at a rate of 20 million times per second without signal distortion in order to keep the power amp in the lower-power standby mode as much as possible. Eta Designs said it is tackling this same issue at cellular base stations first, where it hopes to halve the $36 billion annual expense of powering base stations. It will then follow up with cell phones and smartphones.
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