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R1.09 - Flexible Thermoelectric Devices Based on Indium Phosphide Nanowire Networks on Copper 
April 22, 2014   11:30am - 11:45am

More than 50% of total input energy is wasted as heat in various industrial processes. If we could harness a small fraction of the waste heat while satisfying the economic demands of cost versus performance, then thermoelectric (TE) power generation could bring substantial positive impacts. To meet these demands single-crystal semiconductor nanowire networks have been investigated as a method to achieve advanced TE devices because of their predicted large reduction in thermal conductivity and increase in power factor. To further our goal of developing practical and economical TE devices, we designed and developed a material platform that combines a semiconductor nanowire network and a semiconductor thin film integrated directly on a mechanically flexible metallic substrate. We assessed the potential of this platform by using indium phosphide (InP) nanowire networks and a doped poly-silicon (poly-Si) thin film combined on copper sheets. InP nanowires were grown by metal organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD). In the nanowire network, InP nanowires were grown in three-dimensional networks in which electrical charges and heat travel under the influence of their characteristic scattering mechanisms over a distance much longer than the mean length of the constituent nanowires. Subsequently, plasma-assisted CVD was utilized to form a poly-Si thin film to prevent electrical shorting when an ohmic copper top contact was made. An additional facet to this design is the utilization of multiple materials to address the various temperature ranges at which each material is most efficient at heat to energy conversion. The utilization of multiple materials could enable the enhancement of total power generation for a given temperature gradient. We will investigate the use of poly-Si thin films combined with InP nanowires to enhance TE properties. TE parameters, power production, and challenges of a large area nanowire device on a flexible metallic substrate will be presented. We will discuss our design and testing of a new large area, scalable, mechanically flexible TE devices.

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Keynote Address
Panel Discussion - Different Approaches to Commercializing Materials Research
Business Challenges to Starting a Materials-Based Company
Fred Kavli Distinguished Lectureship in Nanoscience
Application of In-situ X-ray Absorption, Emission and Powder Diffraction Studies in Nanomaterials Research - From the Design of an In-situ Experiment to Data Analysis