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Andlinger Center Events

Date: November 15, 2011

Time: 4:00 PM -

Location: Friend 006

The Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment is pleased to announce its inaugural Highlight Seminar Series which will include talks by world leaders in the areas of energy storage, renewable energy (e.g., solar, wind, biofuels), and waste heat recovery (e.g., thermoelectrics).  The first seminar will feature Professor Ali Shakouri of the Birck Nanotechnology Center at Purdue University who will address the topic “Nanostructured Thermoelectric Materials for Waste Heat Recovery Applications and for Microrefrigeration” on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 4:00 PM in Friend Center 006.  All are invited to attend.


Energy consumption in our society is increasing rapidly. A significant fraction of the energy is lost in the form of heat. In this talk we introduce thermoelectric devices that allow direct conversion of heat into electricity. Novel metal-semiconductor nanocomposites are developed where the heat and charge transport are modified at the atomic level [1]. Theory and experiment are compared for embedded ErAs nanoparticles in InGaAlAs semiconductor matrix as well as for ScN/ZrHfN metal semiconductor multilayers [2]. Potential to increase the energy conversion efficiency and bring the cost down to $0.1-0.2/W will be discussed [3]. We also describe how similar principles can be used to make micro refrigerators on a chip with cooling power densities exceeding 500 watts per centimeter square [4]. Finally, we describe some recent advances in nanoscale thermal characterization. Thermoreflectance imaging is used to measure the transient temperature distribution in active electronic and optoelectronic devices. Resolution down to 100ns in time, submicron spatial and 0.1C in temperature are achieved using megapixel CCDs. Recent results in transient thermal imaging of GaN high power transistors, submicron copper interconnect vias and solar cells are also briefly presented.

[1] C.J. Vineis, A. Shakouri, A. Majumdar, M.G. Kanatzidis, “Nanostructured Thermoelectrics: Big Efficiency Gains from Small Features”, Advanced Materials, Vol. 22, p. 3970, 2010.
[2] A. Shakouri, “Recent developments in semiconductor thermoelectric physics and materials,” Annual Review of Materials Research, July 2011.
[3] K. Yazawa and A. Shakouri, “Optimizing Cost-efficiency Trade-offs in the Design of Thermoelectric Power Generators,” Environmental Science and Technology, July 2011.[4] A. Shakouri, “Nanoscale Thermal Transport and Microrefrigerators on a Chip”, Proceedings of IEEE, August 2006.


Ali Shakouri is the Mary Jo and Robert L. Kirk Director of the Birck Nanotechnology Center and a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University in Indiana. He received his Engineering degree from Telecom Paris, France in 1990 and Ph.D. from California Institute of Technology in 1995. His current research is on nanoscale heat and current transport in semiconductor devices, high resolution thermal imaging, micro refrigerators on a chip, and waste heat recovery systems. He is also working on a new interdisciplinary sustainability curriculum in collaboration with colleagues in engineering and social sciences. He has initiated an international summer school on renewable energy sources in practice. He received the Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering in 1999, the NSF Career award in 2000, and the UC Santa Cruz School of Engineering FIRST Professor Award in 2004.