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Proceedings Paper

Novel metal/semiconductor nanocomposite and superlattice materials and devices for thermoelectrics
Author(s): Joshua M. O. Zide; Hong Lu; Takehiro Onishi; Jeremy L. Schroeder; John E. Bowers; Nobuhiko P. Kobayashi; Timothy D. Sands; Art C. Gossard; Ali Shakouri
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Paper Abstract

Efficiency of thermoelectric materials is generally discussed in terms of the dimensionless figure-of-merit, ZT = S2σT/κ, Many researchers have found that it is possible to reduce the lattice thermal conductivity by incorporating nanostructures (i.e. nanoparticles or heterobarriers) into materials, thereby scattering phonons. At the same time, it has been theoretically predicted and experimentally demonstrated that barriers can be used to "filter" the distribution of carriers which contribute to conduction. By doing so, it is possible to significantly increase the Seebeck coefficient while only modestly decreasing the electrical conductivity. As a result of this energy-dependent scattering of carriers, the thermoelectric power factor is increased. We present theoretical and experimental results for metal/semiconductor nanocomposites consisting of metallic rareearth- group V nanoparticles within III-V semiconductors (e.g. ErAs:InGaAlAs) demonstrating both an increase in thermoelectric power factor and a decrease in thermal conductivity, resulting in a large figure of merit. We also discuss metal/semiconductor superlattices made of lattice-matched nitride materials for electron filtering and the prospects of these materials for efficient thermoelectrics, especially at high temperatures. Finally, we will discuss both various synthesis techniques for these materials, including the prospects for bulk growth, and also devices fabricated from these materials.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 April 2010
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 7683, Energy Harvesting and Storage: Materials, Devices, and Applications, 76830V (29 April 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.850058
Show Author Affiliations
Joshua M. O. Zide, Univ. of Delaware (United States)
Hong Lu, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara (United States)
Takehiro Onishi, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz (United States)
Jeremy L. Schroeder, Purdue Univ. (United States)
John E. Bowers, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara (United States)
Nobuhiko P. Kobayashi, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz (United States)
Timothy D. Sands, Purdue Univ. (United States)
Art C. Gossard, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara (United States)
Ali Shakouri, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7683:
Energy Harvesting and Storage: Materials, Devices, and Applications
Nibir K. Dhar; Priyalal S. Wijewarnasuriya; Achyut Kumar Dutta, Editor(s)

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