Current Thermoelectric News and Events

Current Thermoelectric News and Events, Thermoelectric News Articles.
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Tapping into waste heat for electricity by nanostructuring thermoelectric materials
Thermoelectric semiconductors can convert waste heat into useful electricity. However, obtaining lead-free semiconductors with high thermoelectric performance has proven to be difficult. Now, scientists from Chung-Ang University, Korea, have developed a novel strategy to produce tin telluride (SnTe) nanosheets directly from tin selenide nanosheets (SnSe), the latter of which are easier to fabricate. Their strategy paves the way for better nanostructuring in SnTe, which greatly enhances its thermoelectric properties. (2021-02-16)

Energy harvesting: Printed thermoelectric generators for power generation
Thermoelectric generators, TEGs for short, convert ambient heat into electrical power. They enable maintenance-free, environmentally friendly, and autonomous power supply of the continuously growing number of sensors and devices for the Internet of Things (IoT) and recovery of waste heat. Scientists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have now developed three-dimensional component architectures based on novel, printable thermoelectric materials. The results are reported in npj Flexible Electronics (DOI: 10.1038/s41528-020-00098-1) and ACS Energy Letters (DOI: 10.1021/acsenergylett.0c02159) (2021-02-05)

From waste heat to electrical power: A new generation of thermomagnetic generators
Use of waste heat contributes largely to sustainable energy supply. Scientists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and T?hoku University in Japan have now come much closer to their goal of converting waste heat into electrical power at small temperature differences. As reported in Joule, electrical power per footprint of thermomagnetic generators based on Heusler alloy films has been increased by a factor of 3.4. (DOI: 10.1016/j.joule.2020.10.019) (2021-02-03)

From heat to spin to electricity: Understanding spin transport in thermoelectric devices
Spin thermoelectric materials are an area of active research because of their potential applications in thermal energy harvesters. However, the physics underlying the effects of interlayers in these materials on spin transport phenomena are unclear. In a recent study, scientists from Chung-Ang University, Korea, shed light on this topic using a newly developed platform to measure the spin Seebeck effect. Their findings pave the way to large-area thermoelectric materials with enhanced properties. (2021-01-28)

Beauty in imperfection: How crystal defects can help convert waste heat into electricity
Half-Heusler Ni-based alloys are thermoelectric materials with the potential for converting waste heat into electricity. However, the origin of their impressive conversion efficiency is not entirely clear. In a recent study, scientists from Japan and Turkey have attempted to uncover the role that Ni defects have in the crystal structure of these alloys and how their desirable thermoelectric properties are a consequence of small changes in strain around defective sites. (2021-01-26)

Energy harvesting made possible with skin temperature
The Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) announced that a collaborative research team led by Dr. Seungjun Chung from the Soft Hybrid Materials Research Center and Professor Yongtaek Hong from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Seoul National University (SNU) developed flexible thermoelectric devices with high power generation performance by maximizing flexibility and heat transfer efficiency. The research team also presented a mass-production plan through an automated process including a printing process. (2021-01-13)

UCI scientists measure local vibrational modes at individual crystalline faults
Employing newly developed electron microscopy techniques, researchers at the University of California, Irvine and other institutions have, for the first time, measured the spectra of phonons - quantum mechanical vibrations in a lattice - at individual crystalline faults, and they discovered the propagation of phonons near the flaws. The team's findings are the subject of a study published recently in Nature. (2021-01-12)

Entangling electrons with heat
Quantum entanglement is key for next-generation computing and communications technology, Aalto researchers can now produce it using temperature differences. (2021-01-08)

Largest study of Asia's rivers unearths 800 years of paleoclimate patterns
The SUTD study will be crucial for assessing future climatic changes and making more informed water management decisions. (2020-12-30)

Record-setting thermoelectric figure of merit achieved for metal oxides
Scientists at Hokkaido University have developed a layered cobalt oxide with a record-setting thermoelectric figure of merit, which can be used to enhance thermoelectric power generation. (2020-12-22)

Quantum mysteries: Probing an unusual state in the superconductor-insulator transition
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology approach the two decade-old mystery of why an anomalous metallic state appears in the superconductor-insulator transition in 2D superconductors. Through experimental measurements of a thermoelectric effect, they found that the ''quantum liquid state'' of quantum vortices causes the anomalous metallic state. The results clarify the nature of the transition and could help in the design of superconducting devices for quantum computers. (2020-12-14)

UMBC team reveals possibilities of new one-atom-thick materials
New 2D materials have the potential to transform technologies, but they're expensive and difficult to synthesize. Researchers at UMBC used computer modeling to predict the properties of 2D materials that haven't yet been made in real life. These highly-accurate predictions show the possibility of materials whose properties could be ''tuned'' to make them more efficient than existing materials in particular applications. A separate paper demonstrated a way to integrate these materials into real electronic devices. (2020-12-14)

Multiple semiconductor type switching to boost thermoelectric conversion of waste heat
Scientists at Tokyo Tech demonstrate double charge carrier type switching of tin SnSe semiconductor by doping of antimony Sb. The SnSe carrier type switches from p-type to n-type, and re-switches to p-type as doping increases, due to the switching of major Sb substitution site from Se to Sn, promising reliable charge polarity control, leading to realization of SnSe-based p/n homojunction thermoelectric device for converting waste heat into electricity and new insights on impurity doping of compound semiconductors. (2020-12-09)

Researchers call for renewed focus on thermoelectric cooling
Almost 200 years after French physicist Jean Peltier discovered that electric current flowing through the junction of two different metals could be used to produce a heating or cooling effect, researchers say it is time to step up efforts to find new materials for the thermoelectric cooling market. (2020-12-07)

Titanium atom that exists in two places at once in crystal to blame for unusual phenomenon
Bombarding a crystal with neutrons reveals a quantum quirk that frustrates heat transfer. (2020-12-03)

Active camouflage artificial skin in visible-to-infrared range
Cephalopods' exceptional ability to hide into any background has inspired researchers to replicate their fascinating ability to camouflage in the infrared (IR) and visible spectrum. Recent advances offered a number of physical mechanisms to reproduce the cloaking functionalities of cephalopods. However, most of works focused on either camouflaging in the visible or IR camouflage range only: not dual modes in a single device structure that can readily switch between the visible and IR mode according to a suitable situation. (2020-12-02)

Game changer in thermoelectric materials could unlock body-heat powered personal devices
A breakthrough improvement in ultra?efficient thermoelectric materials, which can convert heat into electricity and vice versa, has great potential for applications ranging from low-maintenance, solid-state refrigeration to compact, zero-carbon power generation--possibly including small, personal devices powered by the body's own heat. Heat 'harvesting' takes advantage of the free, plentiful heat sources provided by body heat, automobiles, everyday living, and industrial process. (2020-11-28)

Improving quantum dot interactions, one layer at a time
Osaka City University scientists and colleagues in Japan have found a way to control an interaction between quantum dots that could greatly improve charge transport, leading to more efficient solar cells. Their findings were published in the journal Nature Communications. (2020-11-20)

Handles and holes in abstract spaces: how a material conducts electricity better
A new theory has succeeded in establishing a new relationship between the presence or absence of 'handles' in the space of the arrangements of atoms and molecules that make up a material, and the propensity of the latter to conduct electricity. The insulating materials 'equipped with handles' can conduct electricity as well as metals, while retaining typical properties of insulators, such as transparency. (2020-11-13)

AI speeds up development of new high-entropy alloys
POSTECH's joint research team identifies a deep learning method for phase prediction of high-entropy alloys. (2020-11-11)

Turning heat into power with efficient organic thermoelectric material
Thermoelectric materials can turn a temperature difference into electricity. Organic thermoelectric materials could be used to power wearable electronics or sensors; however, the power output is still very low. An international team led by Jan Anton Koster, Professor of Semiconductor Physics at the University of Groningen, has now produced an n-type organic semiconductor with superior properties that brings these applications a big step closer. Their results were published in the journal Nature Communications. (2020-11-11)

Clemson researchers decode thermal conductivity with light
Clemson researchers examine a highly efficient thermoelectric material in a new way - by using light. (2020-11-09)

Sprinkled with power: How impurities enhance a thermoelectric material at the atomic level
Magnesium silicide (Mg2Si) is a thermoelectric material that can convert heat into electricity. Though it is known that adding antimony impurities enhances the performance of Mg2Si, the mechanisms underlying this effect are unclear. Now, scientists from Japan shed light on the effects of these impurities at the atomic level, taking us closer to arriving at a practical way of efficiently harvesting waste heat from cars and thermal power plants to produce clean energy. (2020-10-15)

Energy-harvesting plastics pass the acid test
Air-stable coatings can improve the longevity of wearable devices that tap into body heat. (2020-10-06)

Boundaries no barrier for thermoelectricity
Rice University researchers show how thermoelectricity hurdles some defects, but not others, in gold nanowires. The discovery has implications for making better thin-film electronic devices. (2020-09-08)

'Floppy' atomic dynamics help turn heat into electricity
Materials scientists at Duke University have uncovered an atomic mechanism that makes certain thermoelectric materials such as iron sulfide incredibly efficient near high-temperature phase transitions. The information will help fill critical knowledge gaps in the computational modeling of such materials, potentially allowing researchers to discover new and better options for technologies that rely on transforming heat into electricity. (2020-09-04)

Researchers design efficient low-cost system for producing power at night
Researchers have designed an off-grid, low-cost modular energy source that can efficiently produce power at night. The system uses commercially available technology and could eventually help meet the need for nighttime lighting in urban areas or provide lighting in developing countries. (2020-08-13)

Optical shaping of polarization anisotropy in a laterally-coupled-quantum-dot dimer
Coupled-quantum-dot (CQD) structures are considered to be an important building block in the development of scalable quantum devices. We found that emission of a laterally-coupled QD structure is strongly polarized along the coupled direction and its polarization anisotropy can be shaped by changing the orientation of the excitation polarization. Surprisingly, both excitons and local biexcitons separately in the two quantum dots show the same anisotropy although the polarization anisotropy of the emission is determined by the excitation polarization. (2020-07-10)

Cooling mechanism increases solar energy harvesting for self-powered outdoor sensors
Thermoelectric devices, which use the temperature difference between the top and bottom of the device to generate power, offer some promise for harnessing naturally occurring energy. In Applied Physics Letters, authors tested one made up of a wavelength-selective emitter that constantly cools the device during the day using radiative cooling. As a result, the top of the device is cooler than the bottom, causing a temperature difference that creates constant voltage through day and night. (2020-07-07)

Flexible material shows potential for use in fabrics to heat, cool
A new North Carolina State University study finds that a material made of carbon nanotubes has a combination of thermal, electrical and physical properties that make it an appealing candidate for next-generation smart fabrics. (2020-07-02)

Extremely low thermal conductivity in 1D soft chain structure BiSeX (X = Br, I)
Researchers found a new sort of simple one-dimensional (1D) crystal structured bismuth selenohalides (BiSeX, X = Br, I) with extremely low thermal conductivity. Investigations on crystal structure reveal that the ultralow thermal conductivity is due to the weakened chemical bonding in the low-dimensional structure, showing a quasi-0D crystal structure. These findings provide a novel selection rule to search low thermal conductivity materials with potential applications in thermoelectrics and thermal barrier coatings. (2020-06-19)

Self-powered 'paper chips' could help sound an early alarm for forest fires
Recent devastating fires in the Amazon rain forest and the Australian bush highlight the need to detect forest fires at early stages, before they blaze out of control. Current methods include infrared imaging satellites, remote sensing, watchtowers and aerial patrols, but by the time they sound the alarm, it could be too late. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces have developed self-powered ''paper chips'' that sense early fires and relay a signal. (2020-06-17)

Minimizing thermal conductivity of crystalline material with optimal nanostructure
Japanese researchers successfully minimized thermal conductivity by designing, fabricating, and evaluating the optimal nanostructure-multilayer materials through materials informatics (MI), which combines machine learning and molecular simulation. (2020-06-12)

Outer tube-selectively boron-doped double-walled carbon nanotubes for thermoelectric applications
A research group led by Hiroyuki Muramatsu of Shinshu University succeeded in selectively doping the outer tube of DWNTs with boron. This significantly increased the electrical conductivity and the Seebeck coefficient which resulted in a highly enhanced thermoelectric performance of the DWNTs. This advancement allows for an extremely effective method to add functionality such as high electrical conductivity, chemical activation, improvement of thermoelectric properties while maintaining the function of the inner CNT. (2020-05-02)

Abundant element to power small devices
Researchers have found a way to convert heat energy into electricity with a nontoxic material. The material is mostly iron which is extremely cheap given its relative abundance. A generator based on this material could power small devices such as remote sensors or wearable devices. The material can be thin so it could be shaped into various forms. (2020-04-27)

Untwisting plastics for charging internet-of-things devices
Scientists are unraveling the properties of electricity-conducting plastics so they can be used in future energy-harvesting devices. (2020-04-16)

Creating stretchable thermoelectric generators
For the first time, a soft and stretchable organic thermoelectric module has been created that can harvest energy from body heat. The breakthrough was enabled by a new composite material that may have widespread use in smart clothing, wearable electronics and electronic skin. The result is published in Nature Communications. (2020-03-24)

How do you power billions of sensors? By converting waste heat into electricity
Osaka University researchers found that thermoelectric power generators lose a great deal of their possible output power because of thermal and electrical contact resistance. Improving this limitation will help society power interconnected technologies of the future. (2020-03-23)

Silicon-graphene hybrid plasmonic waveguide photodetectors beyond 1.55 μm
Waveguide photodetectors beyond 1.55 μm are becoming very attractive for many applications. Recently, researchers from Zhejiang University and Southeast University in China proposed and realized high-performance silicon-graphene hybrid plasmonic waveguide photodetectors beyond 1.55 μm (e.g., 2 μm), by introducing an ultra-thin wide silicon-graphene hybrid plasmonic waveguide with efficient light absorption in graphene. This work paves the way for achieving high-responsivity and high-speed near/mid-infrared waveguide photodetectors on silicon. (2020-03-13)

This wearable device camouflages its wearer no matter the weather
Researchers at the University of California San Diego developed a wearable technology that can hide its wearer from heat-detecting sensors such as night vision goggles, even when the ambient temperature changes -- a feat that current state of the art technology cannot match. The technology can adapt to temperature changes in just a few minutes, while keeping the wearer comfortable. (2020-03-03)

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