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Directory:Charles M. Brown's Thermal Electric Chip

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"I offer patent U.S. 3,890,161, a chip which absorbs heat directly while producing electrical power. The invention comprises an array of very many very small diodes in uniform alignment parallel, imbedded in a microchip. A mature design of 100,000,000,000 diodes per square centimeter ... would produce ~100 watts per square centimeter." -- Charles M. Brown


Official Website

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Image:CharlesBrown patent fig1 full.gif

U.S. 3,890,161 Diode array June 17, 1975 Charles M. Brown, III

Abstract : A method and apparatus for rectifying thermal electrical noise, the preferred apparatus comprising a dielectric ultra-filtration screen membrane having a plurality of cylindrical pores, each pore isolating material forming an individual diode having an internal impedance in which electrical signals are generated by effect of thermal electrical noise, the diodes are connected in parallel to cumulate the effect of rectified electrical signals for concurrent production of power and refrigeration.

'''Post 1871 Patents that reference Patent 3,890,161

Inventor Correspondence

Sept. 26, 2000


Name: Charles Brown

E-Mail: (no reply in Aug. 2004)

Current E-Mail:

Date/Time: 9/26/2000 4:18 PM

Subject: Clean, cheap, abundant,decentralized,safe energy


May I present a new clean, abundant, decentralized energy source. I offer patent U.S. 3,890,161, a chip which absorbs heat directly while producing electrical power.

The invention comprises an array of very many very small diodes in uniform alignment parallel. Beyond a scale producing well smoothed power, primary subunits may be connected in series.

The hypotheses is that diodes release intrinsic heat driven thermal transients of one polarity which are efficiently aggregated by being in parallel. The solid structure of the device will support the process to a much greater extent than the energy needed by it's manufacture.

Chips fabricated with 5,600 2.3 micrometer diodes were purchased and a tested by a professional lab on commission. The chips exceeded a thermodynamic threshold of performance thereby demonstrating scientific feasibility. Chips are made in batches so many independent teams should be able to explore the prospect of energy becoming an assured commodity rather than an external rarity. The performance is, however, below practical value.

A mature design of 100,000,000,000 diodes per square centimeter ( with negligible interconnect complexity) implying 34 nanometer center to center spacing in staggered rows ( A good design point) would produce ~100 watts per square centimeter @ 20C, 50% device efficiency, and full thermal transient bandwidth of 1THz responsiveness. The full equation to derive the power is: P(watts) available to a matched electrical load =1/2 kTB NE. Rectification retains 1/2 the power, k is Boltzman's constant 1.38 x 10(exp)-23, T is temperature in degrees Kelvin, B is the bandwidth, N is the number of elements, and E is the device efficiency (defaulted to 50% (max for a matched load)). A practical design should withstand short circuit and open circuit conditions indefinitely. At these limits the diodes involved do not contribute refrigeration or electrical power. The device may also be operated at less than maximum power. In all cases the refrigeration and electrical yield are matched.

Envision cheap clean safe decentralized non disruptive power.

Other factors then emerge as important to a sustainable, prosperous, wonderful, and beautiful civilization.

I want the DIODE ARRAY to be developed and applied by a synergetic, diverse, transparent, low profit, unencumbered, worldwide network of people.

Aloha, Charles M. Brown

August 31, 2004

Charles M. Brown writes:

Subject: Re: OS: a chip which absorbs heat directly while producing electrical power.

I would be pleased to work with pure energy systems. Mass is building a prototype. The design has been improved by using C60 buckyballs as anodes. Nano Lab has no restrictions on other participants. Their efforts should be appreciated.

Feb. 19, 2007 A

From: Charles M. Brown

Subject: Diode Array Wondrful Energy Source

I was granted U.S. Patent 3890161 DIODE ARRAY in 1975. The patent application was filed in 1973 and the patent reverted to the public in 1992. The diode array is a chip that typically consists of billions of nanometer scale diodes in consistent alignment parallel ( where all the anodes are connected to one buss sheet and the anodes abut a shared cathode substrate) or, for higher voltage, parallel series to rectify and aggregate nanowatt level internal radio frequency thermal noise (also known as Johnson noise) within electronic components (not involving antennas) into D.C. electricity. Many diodes will produce useful D.C. power for a matched impedance electrical load and overwhelm the load's own thermal noise (a baseless academic concern).

The diode array converts ambient heat into electrical energy without starting with a gross temperature difference where heat at a gross warmer temperature needs to flow to a gross cooler temperature. Instead, heat in the form of random electron movement, is passively sorted into forward movements, which are preferentially passed, and reverse motions, which are preferentially blocked. Thus a variant of Maxwell's demon, Smoluchowski's trapdoor, applied to electrons, is taken at face value to work. Very small diodes are used as Smoluchowski's trapdoors for electrons. In the diode array many very small diodes are fabricated in consistent alignment parallel so the net preferential conveyance of electrons is aggregated for a large number of diodes rendering the small net rectified thermal movement of electrons in each diode into a large amount of low voltage, high current D.C. electrical power. The electrical power is produced with an intimately associated equal degree of cooling.

Less power is needed to sort the random power than is supplied by the random thermal power. The power needed to alter the width of the depletion region at the junction, which determines the conductivity of a diode, is deducted from the thermal noise leaving net rectified power as intermittent electrical power of one polarity.

The electrons do not have to supply ?information energy? to move within a diode. A macroscopically uniform temperature is microscopically non uniform so nanometer scale devices as long as they are above absolute zero in temperature have an endless supply of moving electrons with nanometer scale avoidance of entropic stillness. The manufactured order of the diode and the array will passively impose order on the electrons rectifying and aggregating them resulting in a summation of any net rectified electrical output to any desired level. Inefficiently rectified intermittent currents can be aggregated to any higher power level proportional to the number of diodes.

The electrons move uphill into the buss voltage within the source diode so they lose momentum so they become colder. The loss of thermal energy is equal to the gain of electrical energy released from the buss when electricity is drawn off. Diode arrays can easily withstand open circuit or short circuit conditions. In these cases no electrical output or refrigeration is produced.

The concept was partially tested in 1993 where more power than ~2 nanowatts, the power a single diode can deliver to a matched impedance load, 1 /2 kTB watts where 1 / 2 accounts for rectification, k=Boltzmann's constant, 1.38 x 10^-23 T=temperature in Kelvins, ~300 and B=Bandwidth, ~1 THz, the upper frequency limit of thermal noise, was measured from a chip consisting of ~5,600 2.3 um dia Au dot anodes surrounded by SiO2 on a n type GaAs substrate. The chip produced ~50 nanowatts as ~50 millivolts across 50 K ohms, substrate positive, under professional test conditions including a uniform temperature bath of stirred pure inert oil, showing feasibility. Tests for nanowatt power level refrigeration were not conducted. Unfortunately the documentation of this test is limited to a single page of test results.

I would like people to corroborate these results with similar or much better experiments. The 2T6 chip from Virginia Diodes Inc. used in 1993 has been superseded by their 1T7. Contact Steven H, Jones. VDI will not mount or modify the die. The president of the company, Dr. Crowe, does not support this research.

I began this revolutionary physics quest 40 years ago after free time reading of Isaac Asimov on the Second Law of Thermodynamics (2LoT), one of the most strongly believed Science Laws. Dr. Asimov's wonderful writing led me to believe that 2LoT could be circumvented with nanotechnology.

2LoT is a very expensive limitation on what is considered possible. The new hypothesis that 2LoT can be escaped on a nanometer scale is a science question. It should be tested openly and diligently by the scientific community. Unfortunately, science has gotten very comfortable with 2LoT for the last ~180 years. Belief in 2Lot is often used, perhaps falsely, as an indicator of scientific competency. At the same time it is a very inelegant law, a sign of fallacy.

A more advanced test requires the assembly of arrays containing a great number of nanometer scale diodes as carbon nanotubes, selected to be semiconducting, placed between Au and Al rails which would become anode and cathode points.

A more practical diode array form is to nanofabricate short vertical general ~2 nm dia. carbon nanotube anodes spaced ~ 30nm in staggered rows on an n type InSb (a high performance semiconductor) substrate producing arrays of 10^11 diodes / cm^2 at 50% efficiency this means a power density of ~100 watts / cm2.

The diode array would greatly advance civilization. Future appliances would have clean, cheap, widely available, safe, quiet, reliable, CO and CO2 free power with or without a power grid. Air conditioning would more logically release electricity. Air conditioning would produce abundant electricity in warm climates. Food and medicine could be kept cold reliably in stand alone chests. Crops could have better and cheaper soil, watering, harvesting, and storage. Many kinds of electric vehicles would become practical. These vehicles would be clean enough to run in confined spaces. These vehicles would obtain their energy as they moved so energy storage would not be needed. Diode array powered shipping would be fast, cheap, and pervasive. Bird like automated aircraft with million kilometer maintenance intervals unless shot or snared could be built. Diode arrays in computers with minor inputs and outputs would recycle the heat from the operating chips so the system would not release heat or need external power while using lots of high power high speed logic.

The diode array will not automatically prevent its applications from becoming weapons. That is too much to ask of any technology. Diode arrays may remove the frustration that leads to terrorism. Civilization would become more diversified because diode arrays would support campers, people in fortresses, underground extensions of homes, nomadic bands, teenage floaters, hermits, recluses, deep survivalists, shantytown denizens, space travelers, underwater colonies as well as placid box dwellers.

I want this to be commercialized without fussy licensing restrictions on the diode array or its applications so all humanity can be involved in its synergistic development. NonDisclosure Agreements and noncompete requirements are not in this spirit. I would like very soft patents that did little beyond acknowledge the creative originality of inventors. Society should not be enmeshed in a burdensome license tangle. Diode array applications become unpatentable if they are widely published instead of being patented promptly and they are developed by skilled craftsmen rather than overwhelming creativity.

First, a prototype development group with great team strength needs to emerge. Later, many application development groups should emerge. Micro angel capitalization is the cleanest form of financing. A smooth, free, open, and fair market should support useful applications using commodity chips made by commodity equipment. The technical details would diffuse to the educational system where the next generation of application developers would learn about the craft efficiently. The first developers would recover their specific research and development costs with a modest positioning premium on their price. Positioning is an effect that arises in consumers because of a need to reduce the number of alternatives when getting through life assisted by their purchases.

Profiteers may try to sell diode array based products at exorbitant prices. The response is to aggressively bring in more reasonable suppliers. The Federation will readily do this. It may become illegal, as a sign of social compassion, to deprive a debtor of basic appliances that are very important to basic survival yet have little commercial value. Poor people may be assisted in obtaining diode array powered appliances with peer secured micro loans. These appliances would be highly likely to support great productivity gains in many uses.


Charles M. Brown

Feb. 19, 2007 B

From: "Charles M. Brown"

Subject: diode array 070219 2033 HST

The diode array is developed according to a different

design philosophy than the device briefly described in the

group email. The diode array design intent is to have many

small diodes each rectify the random movement of electrons

associated with a small junction and aggregating its

output with its neighbors. N type InSb is chosen as the

common cathode substrate because of its extreme electron

mobility. One consequence is a near metallic conductivity.

The small signal forward / reverse resistance ratio is

more important below breakdown voltage than the actual

value. The junction must have extremely small capacitance

to respond efficiently at ~ 1 Thz. Capacitance below

10^-18 farads is desired and attainable with orthogonal

unit diameter C nanotube junctions (less than 10 sq. nm).

In science different ways to do something reinforce the

validity of the attempt rather than compete for dominance.

I, therefore encourage any means of escaping 2LoT. A

photocathode coated with pinned positive ions may have

extremely low work function. Ambient thermal Infra Red may

eject electrons from such materials for the facing high

work function material anode to collect and become the

negative pole of D.C. power.

See the paper, Realization of Maxwell's Hypothesis An

Experiment Against the Second Law of Thermodynamics Xin

Yong Fu et all Shanghai Jiao Tong University where a

magnetic field preferentially directs electrons in a

vacuum from one photocathode to another nearly identical


I believe that a difference in composition between plates

in a thermonic tube would produce D.C. power where the

temperature of the emitter is the most important factor

leading to heat absorption as electrons are sent across

the vacuum.




New Diode Research

According to present best known Spice simulations diodes rectify Thermal energy (e.g., Shot noise and Johnson noise). This idea has been extensively exhausted and stood up to the tests time. Such sims have improved over time, but to date such Spice sims have never showed zero rectification of thermal energy.

To date there have been three independent researchers with positive results indicating diodes rectify thermal energy.

2LoT (2nd Law of Thermodynamics) is a theory of macroscopic systems at equilibrium and therefore the second law applies only to macroscopic systems with well-defined temperatures. On scales of a few atoms, the second law does not apply for example, in a system of two molecules, it is possible for the slower-moving ("cold") molecule to transfer energy to the faster-moving ("hot") molecule. Such tiny systems are outside the domain of classical thermodynamics, but they can be investigated in quantum thermodynamics by using statistical mechanics. For any isolated system with a mass of more than a few picograms, the second law is true to within a few parts in a million. Reference: Landau, L.D. Lifshitz, E.M. (1996). Statistical Physics Part 1. Butterworth Heinemann. ISBN 0-7506-3372-7.

Reset noise is a well documented effect. An example of Reset noise is to discharge a capacitor by shorting the capacitor, and once the electrical short is removed the capacitor charge will begin to vary over time due to thermal fluctuations. In this case such thermal fluctuations is referred to as kTC noise. kTC noise is equal to sqrt(k T / C), where k is Boltzmann constant, T is temperature in Kelvin, and C is capacitance in farads. The overall Reset noise effect is that a capacitor, once discharged, will charge to a random voltage (energy = V^2 C / 2) due to thermal energy.

Present conventional physics is imperfect and thus changes over time where on occasion mathematical flaws are discovered. For example, for decades Spice has been developed and improved by Universities and scientists, but a recent error was discovered in the way Spice .noise analysis calculates diode noise at thermal equilibrium (zero bias). Experimental evidence has proven diodes generate shot and thermal noise according to the diodes zero bias resistance. To date, LTspice is first and only Spice software to recognize and correct this error. Previous Spice simulations calculated significantly less diode noise at thermal equilibrium.

Although unverified, there are recent simulations conducted at an atomic scale that demonstrate diodes rectify thermal energy. Another recent simulation software shows a proper trapdoor design successfully rectifies particles resulting in more overall thermal energy in one chamber than the other. Both simulation programs utilize fundamental forces ranging from blackbody radiation to radiation resistance to near and far electromagnetic fields.

Email Discussion List - Email discussion group to supplement the pursuet the implementation of Charles M. Brown's patent U.S. 3,890,161 into a device feasible for the marketplace, taking the open source development approach.


His stuff is real

On Feb. 19, 2007, New Energy Congress Advisor, Congress:Advisor:Kenneth M. Rauen wrote:

I met Charlie Brown at the New Energy Movement conference. His stuff is real. He is one of the few who are working on Second Law violators and has his feet solidly on the ground. He should be on the "deep in research" list.

Valid with Shortcomings

On Feb. 19, 2007, David Yurth wrote:

Brown’s invention is still as valid today as it was thirty years ago, and it still suffers from the same fundamental weakness. There are numerous ways to generate enormous quantities of electrons – the use of nano-structures such as LED’s is a good one – but they all suffer from the same weakness. The internal resistance associated with transporting, collecting and harnessing electron flows is normally so high with such devices that even though the electrons are liberated in one part of the circuit, they are reabsorbed in another.

See full statement at: Directory:NOVA Thermal Electric Chips


Charles M. Brown

4264 Ala Muku Pl. C-3

Kilauea Kauai Hawaii 96754

phone: 808-828-0297

email: []

See also

Directory:Thermal Electric

- Directory







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