(470b) Advanced Nanostructures for Thermoelectric Energy Harvesting

Wu, Y., Virginia Commonwealth University

Substantial efforts have been devoted to use nanostructured materials for thermoelectric energy harvesting and solid-state cooling in the past decade. However, the majority of the research is still limited in lab scale due to the incapability to mass-produce well-defined nanostructured materials with low yet industrial-compatible process. In addition, a lot of widely used thermoelectric materials contain toxic and expensive elements that prevent the large-scale deployment of the thermoelectric devices. In this presentation, we will discuss our research on the development of mass production of molecular scale nanostructures of chalcogenides and metal oxides, as well as their heterostructures, for the manufacture of thermoelectric generators operating at different temperature ranges. Particularly, we will talk about our approach to discover and investigate the non-toxic and abundant nanostructured materials to achieve an environmentally friendly process. Our preliminary research indicated that thermoelectric figure of merit (ZT) close to 2 can be achieved in the molecular scale nanowires of certain chalcogenide due to significantly enhanced power factor and reduced thermal conductivity as a result of quantum confinement.