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San Francisco, CA, United States

An array of nanowires and method thereof. The array of nanowires includes a plurality of nanowires. The plurality of nanowires includes a plurality of first ends and a plurality of second ends respectively. For each of the plurality of nanowires, a corresponding first end selected from the plurality of first ends and a corresponding second end selected from the plurality of second ends are separated by a distance of at least 200 m. All nanowires of the plurality of nanowires are substantially parallel to each other.


A thermoelectric generator includes a tapered inlet manifold including first and second non-parallel sides; first and second pluralities of outlet manifolds; and thermoelectric generating units (TGUs) each including a hot-side heat exchanger (HHX) with inlet and outlet; a cold-side heat exchanger (CHX); and thermoelectric devices arranged between the HHX and CHX. The inlets of some of the HHXs receive exhaust gas from the first side of the tapered inlet manifold and the outlets of those HHXs are coupled to outlet manifolds of the first plurality of outlet manifolds. The inlets of other of the HHXs receive exhaust gas from the second side of the tapered inlet manifold and the outlets of those HHXs are coupled to outlet manifolds of the second plurality of outlet manifolds. The thermoelectric devices can generate electricity responsive to a temperature differential between the exhaust gas and the CHXs.


Silicon-based thermoelectric materials including isoelectronic impurities, thermoelectric devices based on such materials, and methods of making and using same are provided. According to one embodiment, a thermoelectric material includes silicon and one or more isoelectronic impurity atoms selected from the group consisting of carbon, tin, and lead disposed within the silicon in an amount sufficient to scatter thermal phonons propagating through the silicon and below a saturation limit of the one or more isoelectronic impurity atoms in the silicon. In one example, the thermoelectric material also includes germanium atoms disposed within the silicon in an amount sufficient to scatter thermal phonons propagating through the silicon and below a saturation limit of germanium in the silicon. Each of the one or more isoelectronic impurity atoms and the germanium atoms can independently substitute for a silicon atom or can be disposed within an interstice of the silicon.


A method includes preparing a thermoelectric material including p-type or n-type material and first and second caps including transition metal(s). A powder precursor of the first cap can be loaded into a sintering die, punches assembled thereto, and a pre-load applied to form a first pre-pressed structure including a first flat surface. A punch can be removed, a powder precursor of the p-type or n-type material loaded onto that surface, the punch assembled to the die, and a second pre-load applied to form a second pre-pressed structure including a second substantially flat surface. The punch can be removed, a powder precursor of the second cap loaded onto that surface, the first punch assembled to the die, and a third pre-load applied to form a third pre-pressed structure. The third pre-pressed structure can be sintered to form the thermoelectric material; the first or second cap can be coupled to an electrical connector.


A method includes preparing a thermoelectric material including p-type or n-type material and first and second caps including transition metal(s). A powder precursor of the first cap can be loaded into a sintering die, punches assembled thereto, and a pre-load applied to form a first pre-pressed structure including a first flat surface. A punch can be removed, a powder precursor of the p-type or n-type material loaded onto that surface, the punch assembled to the die, and a second pre-load applied to form a second pre-pressed structure including a second substantially flat surface. The punch can be removed, a powder precursor of the second cap loaded onto that surface, the first punch assembled to the die, and a third pre-load applied to form a third pre-pressed structure. The third pre-pressed structure can be sintered to form the thermoelectric material; the first or second cap can be coupled to an electrical connector.

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