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Textured Tunneling Thermoelectrics

College
College of Engineering (COE)
Researchers
Krishna, Sanjay
Licensing Manager
Wohlgamuth, Christopher
(614)-247-8331
wohlgamuth.5@osu.edu

TS-037932 — A novel method for decreasing thermal conductivity and improving electrical transport for thermoelectric materials.

The key to improve the thermoelectric efficiency is to increase the electrical conductivity, decrease the thermal conductivity, and increase the Seebeck coefficient. In industrial infrared detectors, the cooling system dramatically increases the size, weight, power and cost of the imaging system. …

The Need

The key to improve the thermoelectric efficiency is to increase the electrical conductivity, decrease the thermal conductivity, and increase the Seebeck coefficient. In industrial infrared detectors, the cooling system dramatically increases the size, weight, power and cost of the imaging system. Currently, there is a need for thermoelectric materials to reduce thermal conductivity and provide electrical conduction for a number of applications, including infrared detection systems.

The Technology

Researchers at The Ohio State University, led by Dr. Sanjay Krishna, have developed a novel textured tunneling thermoelectric (T3) layer that relies on tunneling of charge carriers for electrical transport. This is done through the use of super-lattice layers with distinct anisotropy and low dimensional patterns with field emission and tunneling. When tunneling is done across a vacuum or wide-bandgap layer, the thermal transport can be significantly reduced or even made to be zero The technology includes various materials, geometries, and fabrication techniques to realize the T3 layer. The proposed design could ultimately lead to a 30% decrease in cost and up to 40% reduction in size, weight and power of a standard infrared imaging system.

Commercial Applications

  • Infrared Imaging Detection
  • Power Generation
  • Refrigeration

Benefits/Advantages

  • The T3 layer consisting of lattice-matched semiconductors can be epitaxially grown below the detector layer
  • The T3 layer could be patterned or transferred using epitaxial lift-off
  • The T3 layer can also be patterned through selective etching to reduce the thermal conduction yet provide electrical conduction