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New materials will be necessary to break through todays performance envelopes for solid-state energy conversion devices ranging from LED-based solid-state white lamps to thermoelectric devices for solid-state refrigeration and electric power generation. The combination of recent materials advances and development of practical...
New materials will be necessary to break through todays performance envelopes for solid-state energy conversion devices ranging from LED-based solid-state white lamps to thermoelectric devices for solid-state refrigeration and electric power generation. The combination of recent materials advances and development of practical bottom-up nanofabrication methods offers to provide the degrees of freedom necessary to design practical nanocomposite-based devices that can eclipse the performance of conventional thin-film or bulk devices. Relaxation of elastic mismatch strain at free surfaces in semiconductor nanorods and nanowires allows the accommodation of a broader range of lattice mismatch and band-lineups in coherent nanostructures than is possible in thin-film heterostructures. This new space for bandgap engineering provides the opportunity to confine and manipulate electrons, phonons and photons at scales that are comparable to their characteristic wavelengths and scattering lengths. Likewise, nanorod, nanowire and multilayer nanocomposites intimately combine materials with disparate functionalities to create fundamentally new materials that do not resemble the constituent materials in their transport properties, anisotropy or crystal structures. In this talk, I will illustrate these new opportunities with our recent work in the design of monolithic phosphor-free white light emitters based on nanorod heterostructures, and metal/semiconductor solid-state thermionic energy converters utilize.