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"Nanotechnology-Enabled Direct Energy Conversion" icon

Nanotechnology-Enabled Direct Energy Conversion

Energy transport in nanostructures differs significantly from macrostructures because of classical and quantum size effects on energy carriers such as on phonons, electrons, photons, and molecules. Nanoscale effects can be tailored to develop more efficient direct energy conversion technologies such as thermoelectrics, thermophotovotaics, etc.. In this talk, I will discuss a few examples out of our research in using nanoscale effects to improve the efficiency of direct energy conversion. The first example will be on nanostructured thermoelectric materials that explore the interface scattering to reduce the phonon thermal conductivity and to improve the thermoelectric figure of merit. The second example will explore interface effects to create nonequilibrium between electrons and phonons. We show that properly engineered interfaces can lead to an amplification of the nonequilibrium effects and improved thermal-to-electric energy conversion. In the third example, we will discuss the particularities of thermal radiation in nanostructures and their potentially applications to improve the efficiency of thermophotovoltaic energy conversion devices.


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