Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors



Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > With new design, bulk semiconductor proves it can take the heat: Thin-film process boosts bulk alloy's thermoelectric performance

While long valued for high-temperature applications, the bulk alloy semiconductor SiGe hasn't lent itself to broader adoption because of its low thermoelectric performance and the high cost of Germanium. A novel nanotechnology design created by researchers from Boston College and MIT has shown a 30 to 40 percent increase in thermoelectric performance and reduced the amount of costly Germanium.

Credit: Nano Letters
While long valued for high-temperature applications, the bulk alloy semiconductor SiGe hasn't lent itself to broader adoption because of its low thermoelectric performance and the high cost of Germanium. A novel nanotechnology design created by researchers from Boston College and MIT has shown a 30 to 40 percent increase in thermoelectric performance and reduced the amount of costly Germanium.

Credit: Nano Letters

Abstract:
The intense interest in harvesting energy from heat sources has led to a renewed push to discover materials that can more efficiently convert heat into electricity. Some researchers are finding those gains by re-designing materials scientists have been working with for years.

With new design, bulk semiconductor proves it can take the heat: Thin-film process boosts bulk alloy's thermoelectric performance

Chestnut Hill, MA | Posted on April 25th, 2012

A team of Boston College and MIT researchers report developing a novel, nanotech design that boosts the thermoelectric performance of a bulk alloy semiconductor by 30 to 40 percent above its previously achieved figure of merit, the measuring stick of conversion efficiency in thermoelectrics.

The alloy in question, Silicon Germanium, has been valued for its performance in high-temperature thermoelectric applications, including its use in radioisotope thermoelectric generators on NASA flight missions. But broader applications have been limited because of its low thermoelectric performance and the high cost of Germanium.

Boston College Professor of Physics Zhifeng Ren and graduate researcher Bo Yu, and MIT Professors Gang Chen and Mildred S. Dresselhause and post-doctoral researcher Mona Zebarjadi, report in the journal Nano Letters that altering the design of bulk SiGe with a process borrowed from the thin-film semiconductor industry helped produce a more than 50 percent increase in electrical conductivity.

The process, known as a 3D modulation-doping strategy, succeeded in creating a solid-state device that achieved a simultaneous reduction in the thermal conductivity, which combined with conductivity gains to provide a high figure of merit value of ~1.3 at 900 C.

"To improve a material's figure of merit is extremely challenging because all the internal parameters are closely related to each other," said Yu. "Once you change one factor, the others may most likely change, leading to no net improvement. As a result, a more popular trend in this field of study is to look into new opportunities, or new material systems. Our study proved that opportunities are still there for the existing materials, if one could work smartly enough to find some alternative material designs."

Ren pointed out that the performance gains the team reported compete with the state-of-the-art n-type SiGe alloy materials, with a crucial difference that the team's design requires the use of 30 percent less Germanium, which poses a challenge to energy research because of its high cost. Lowering costs is crucial to new clean energy technologies, he noted.

"Using 30 percent less Germanium is a significant advantage to cut down the fabrication costs," said Ren. "We want all the materials we are studying in the group to help remove cost barriers. This is one of our goals for everyday research."

The collaboration between Ren and MIT's Chen has produced several breakthroughs in thermoelectric science, particularly in controlling phonon transport in bulk thermoelectric composite materials. The team's research is funded by the Solid State Solar Thermal Energy Conversion Center.

The 3STEC Center is part of the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Frontier Research Center program, which is aimed at advancing fundamental science and developing materials to harness heat from the sun and convert the heat into electricity via solid-state thermoelectric and thermophotovoltaic technologies.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Ed Hayward

617-552-4826

Copyright © Boston College

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

University of Minnesota engineers make sound loud enough to bend light on a computer chip: Device could improve wireless communications systems November 28th, 2014

Study details laser pulse effects on behavior of electrons November 28th, 2014

Single-atom gold catalysts may offer path to low-cost production of fuel and chemicals November 28th, 2014

Production of Anticancer Drug from Nanofibers in Iran November 28th, 2014

Thin films

'Giant' charge density disturbances discovered in nanomaterials: Juelich researchers amplify Friedel oscillations in thin metallic films November 26th, 2014

New way to move atomically thin semiconductors for use in flexible devices November 13th, 2014

Graphene Frontiers Partners with Madico to Accelerate Material Production: Deal to ignite and fulfill demand for industrial scale graphene film that supports energy, consumer electronics, membranes/filtration, solar and other applications November 12th, 2014

New materials for more powerful solar cells: Major breakthrough in solar energy November 11th, 2014

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

University of Minnesota engineers make sound loud enough to bend light on a computer chip: Device could improve wireless communications systems November 28th, 2014

Single-atom gold catalysts may offer path to low-cost production of fuel and chemicals November 28th, 2014

Renishaw receives Queen's Award for spectroscopy developments November 25th, 2014

Vegetable oil ingredient key to destroying gastric disease bacteria: In mice, therapeutic nanoparticles dampen H. pylori bacteria and inflammation that lead to ulcers and gastric cancer November 25th, 2014

Chip Technology

University of Minnesota engineers make sound loud enough to bend light on a computer chip: Device could improve wireless communications systems November 28th, 2014

SEMATECH to Showcase Innovation and Advances in Manufacturing at SEMICON Japan 2014: SEMATECH experts will share the latest techniques, emerging trends and best practices in advanced manufacturing strategies and methodologies November 26th, 2014

'Giant' charge density disturbances discovered in nanomaterials: Juelich researchers amplify Friedel oscillations in thin metallic films November 26th, 2014

Nanometrics Announces Upcoming Investor Events November 19th, 2014

Discoveries

University of Minnesota engineers make sound loud enough to bend light on a computer chip: Device could improve wireless communications systems November 28th, 2014

Study details laser pulse effects on behavior of electrons November 28th, 2014

Production of Anticancer Drug from Nanofibers in Iran November 28th, 2014

The mysterious 'action at a distance' between liquid containers November 26th, 2014

Materials/Metamaterials

'Giant' charge density disturbances discovered in nanomaterials: Juelich researchers amplify Friedel oscillations in thin metallic films November 26th, 2014

Lawrence Livermore researchers develop efficient method to produce nanoporous metals November 25th, 2014

Research yields material made of single-atom layers that snap together like Legos November 25th, 2014

Aromatic food chemistry to the making of copper nanowires November 24th, 2014

Announcements

University of Minnesota engineers make sound loud enough to bend light on a computer chip: Device could improve wireless communications systems November 28th, 2014

Study details laser pulse effects on behavior of electrons November 28th, 2014

Single-atom gold catalysts may offer path to low-cost production of fuel and chemicals November 28th, 2014

Production of Anticancer Drug from Nanofibers in Iran November 28th, 2014

Research partnerships

Study details laser pulse effects on behavior of electrons November 28th, 2014

Single-atom gold catalysts may offer path to low-cost production of fuel and chemicals November 28th, 2014

SEMATECH to Showcase Innovation and Advances in Manufacturing at SEMICON Japan 2014: SEMATECH experts will share the latest techniques, emerging trends and best practices in advanced manufacturing strategies and methodologies November 26th, 2014

The mysterious 'action at a distance' between liquid containers November 26th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More












ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE