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Microwave power transmission
Following World War II, which saw the development of high-power microwave emitters known as cavity magnetrons, the idea of using microwaves to transmit power was researched. In 1964, William C. Brown demonstrated a miniature helicopter equipped with a combination antenna and rectifier device called a rectenna. The rectenna converted microwave power into electricity, allowing the helicopter to fly. In principle, the rectenna is capable of very high conversion efficiencies - over 90% in optimal circumstances.
Most proposed MPT systems now usually include a phased array microwave transmitter. While these have lower efficiency levels they have the advantage of being electrically steered using no moving parts, and are easier to scale to the necessary levels that a practical MPT system requires.
Using microwave power transmission to deliver electricity to communities without having to build cable-based infrastructure is being studied at Grand Bassin on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean.
Common safety concerns
The common reaction to microwave transmission is one of concern, as microwaves are generally perceived by the public as dangerous forms of radiation - stemming from the fact that they are used in microwave ovens. While high power microwaves can be painful and dangerous as in the United States Military's Active Denial System, MPT systems are generally proposed to have only low intensity at the rectenna.
Though this would be extremely safe as the power levels would be about equal to the leakage from a microwave oven, and only slightly more than a cell phone, the relatively diffuse microwave beam necessitates a large rectenna area for a significant amount of energy to be transmitted.
Research has involved exposing multiple generations of animals to microwave radiation of this or higher intensity, and no health issues have been found. 
Wireless Power Transmission (using microwaves) is well proven. Experiments in the tens of kilowatts have been performed at Goldstone in California in 1975 and more recently (1997) at Grand Bassin on Reunion Island
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Microwave_power_transmission". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|