Inductive charging (also known as wireless charging or cordless charging) is a type of wireless power transfer. It uses electromagnetic induction to provide electricity to portable devices. Inductive charging is also used in vehicles, power tools, electric toothbrushes and medical devices. The portable equipment can be placed near a charging station or inductive pad without needing to be precisely aligned or make electrical contact with a dock or plug.
Inductive charging is so named because it transfers energy through inductive coupling. First, alternating current passes through an induction coil in the charging station or pad. The moving electric charge creates a magnetic field, which fluctuates in strength because the electric current's amplitude is fluctuating. This changing magnetic field creates an alternating electric current in the portable device's induction coil, which in turn passes through a rectifier to convert it to direct current. Finally, the direct current charges a battery or provides operating power.Greater distances between sender and receiver coils can be achieved when the inductive charging system uses resonant inductive coupling, where a capacitor is added to each induction coil to create two LC circuits with a specific resonance frequency. The frequency of the alternating current is matched with the resonance frequency, and the frequency chosen depending on the distance desired for peak efficiency. Recent improvements to this resonant system include using a movable transmission coil (i.e., mounted on an elevating platform or arm) and the use of other materials for the receiver coil such as silver-plated copper or sometimes aluminum to minimize weight and decrease resistance due to the skin effect.