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HEATER Seminar Series: Ctirad Uher, University of Michigan

Topic: Recent Progress in the Development of EfficientThermoelectric Materials: the case of Mg2Si1-xSnx solid solutions
When Apr 27, 2015
from 03:30 PM to 04:30 PM
Where MP 505
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 Current thermoelectric technology is based on materials developed some 60 years ago, primarily Bi2Te3-based structures for cooling applications and PbTe and Si-Ge alloys for power generation. While being the backbone of extremely reliable devices, the conversion efficiency of these materials is typically no better than 4-5% and this limits their industrial applications. To achieve a greater penetration of the market, novel more efficient thermoelectric materials must be developed. During the past dozen years or so, major efforts worldwide focused on identifying and synthesizing new and more efficient thermoelectric materials intended especially for mid-temperature operations as power generating modules converting waste industrial heat into electricity. Several promising families of thermoelectric materials have been identified and one of the most prospective are solid solutions based on Mg2Si1-xSnx. Apart from having good conversion efficiency, especially in their n-type forms, the structure consists of readily available and inexpensive chemicals which are also environmentally friendly. I will review the progress made in the past few years and also point out needs and opportunities to enhance the thermoelectric performance of this class of materials further. I will also describe and discuss the advantages and benefits of a recently developed novel synthesis process of compound thermoelectric semiconductors based on controlling highly exothermic chemical reactions. 

Prof. Ctirad Uher is the C. Wilbur Peters Professor of Physics at the University of Michigan. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the past President of the International Thermoelectric Society. Prof. Uher is the leading expert in thermoelectricity, diluted magnetic semiconductors, and heat transport in superconductors.

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