Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Era In Thermoelectrics

Date:
November 30, 2001
Source:
Office Of Naval Research
Summary:
Scientists funded by the Office of Naval Research and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency have taken a field that has stagnated for over forty years and come up with a very high efficiency thermocouple device that could someday make both freon-dependant refrigerators, as well as power generators, obsolete.

Dreaming of the potential of thermocouple devices? Well, perhaps not ... but maybe you should. The October 11th issue of the respected British science journal Nature says there has been a major breakthrough recently in the world of thermoelectric materials.

Related Articles


Scientists funded by the Office of Naval Research and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency have taken a field that has stagnated for over forty years and come up with a very high efficiency thermocouple device that could someday make both freon-dependant refrigerators, as well as power generators, obsolete.

By passing a current through thousands of super-thin layers of two different semi-conducting materials, scientists at the Research Triangle Institute (RTI) in North Carolina can make something hotter or colder (depending on which way the current flows) over 20,000 times faster than anything we have today. In addition to the astonishing cooling applications of such a device, these thermoelectric materials could someday be used to convert heat into electrical energy in a far more efficient manner than is possible now.

ONR began funding research in thermoelectric materials in 1993 as part of a program to look for alternatives to freon-based cooling systems aboard Navy ships. The Navy had investigated thermoelectrics in the 1960s and experimental thermoelectric cooling modules had been put aboard the USS Dolphin in the 1970s. “The problem was that the materials just didn’t have the efficiency needed to meet the cooling demands for wide-spread use in ship compartment cooling,” comments John Pazik, ONR program manager on the research.

In the 1990s ONR set out to discover and understand the science that would lead to new thermoelectric materials with potentially higher efficiency. RTI was one of the first groups ONR supported. They had a unique idea to separate electrical transport from thermal transport through an artificially engineered material based on a semiconductor superlattice. Over the years they had to surmount many obstacles: first they had to develop a chemical vapor deposition method to make thin films with repeating structures only tens of angstroms thick. Next they had to measure the properties of the structure. Finally they had to apply what they’d discovered and make a prototype device.

This marks the beginning of a new era in thermoelectrics. Ultimately these new materials will be engineered into many devices—eventually into plug-in modules—all at an affordable price. The RTI group has cleared the first hurdle: demonstrating the scientific feasibility of engineering such a material into prototype devices. ONR is also supporting solid state synthesis approaches to produce bulk thermoelectric materials. “The potential of all this could be truly significant and broad-based,” says Rama Venkatasubramanian of RTI. “Stay tuned,” adds Pazik.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Office Of Naval Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Office Of Naval Research. "New Era In Thermoelectrics." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 November 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/11/011129045706.htm>.
Office Of Naval Research. (2001, November 30). New Era In Thermoelectrics. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/11/011129045706.htm
Office Of Naval Research. "New Era In Thermoelectrics." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/11/011129045706.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Printed Cookies Just in Time for Christmas

3D Printed Cookies Just in Time for Christmas

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) A tech company in Spain have combined technology with cuisine to develop the 'Foodini', a 3D printer designed to print the perfect cookie for Santa. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ford Expands Air Bag Recall Nationwide

Ford Expands Air Bag Recall Nationwide

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) The automaker added 447,000 vehicles to its recall list, bringing the total to more than 502,000. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Sony Hopes To Make Any Glasses 'Smart'

How Sony Hopes To Make Any Glasses 'Smart'

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Sony's glasses module attaches to the temples of various eye- and sunglasses to add a display and wireless connectivity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins