Irish researchers test and develop new tech which could greatly extend the battery life of portable electronics

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Professor Cian Ó Mathúna, a world-leading engineering scientist at Tyndall National Institute in Cork, Ireland, has been named the recipient of two major international awards celebrating innovative technology created in Ireland, which could have a lasting environmental impact.

Minimizing energy consumption in electronics continues to be a major, technological challenge. Responding to this challenge, Professor Ó Mathúna, head of MicroNano Systems at Tyndall National Institute, developed MagIC (Magnetics on Silicon), an innovative technology that can greatly extend the battery life of portable electronics and dramatically reduce the energy use of high-performance electronic systems and equipment.

The ground-breaking impact of the technology has recently been recognized with prestigious awards from the 400,000 member IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and EARTO (European Association of Research and Technology Organizations) celebrating the global influence of Professor Ó Mathúna’s research on the semiconductor industry and recognizing his impact on shaping future electronics technology.

Tyndall’s MagIC technology makes bulky magnetics components in electronic equipment disappear onto the silicon chip. Using MagIC technology electronics will be able to use power more efficiently by minimizing the energy wasted or lost as the battery powers the microprocessor chip. This improved efficiency can extend the charge time of batteries by more than 50%.

The breakthrough technology could have a huge impact on markets for mobile phones, IT equipment, and any device needing a battery.

This more efficient use of power represents big savings on the amount of energy we use globally to charge our personal devices. Currently, there are 15 billion mobile devices operating worldwide with this figure expected to increase to 18 billion by 2025. Tyndall’s MagIC technology could play a key role in reducing energy consumption in this sector.

Professor Ó Mathúna said, “I’m so proud of the Integrated Magnetics Team and the work we’ve done in developing this technology over 27 years. Our achievements show the major impact Irish research is having on the global stage and places Tyndall and University College Cork at the forefront of the development of new energy management technology for batteries in portable electronics.

“We continue to partner extensively with global companies to develop and commercialize the technology which has already received more than €20m in funding from research, licensing and productization. We have joint publications with companies such as Global Foundries in Dresden and Singapore; Intel, USA and Philips in the Netherlands as well as a joint patent with Apple Computers, USA in 2019. This ground-breaking and disruptive innovation is set to change the global approach to how power is managed in electronic devices and will contribute to addressing a critical environmental issue for society and our planet,” he added.