Abstract: In the 19th century, early power generation was local, inefficient and expensive. In the 20th century, the industry used the idea of the economy of scale and built centralized grids more efficient and cheaper than local ones that are serving us to date. In the 21st century, we are witnessing the arrival of portable, personalized, low-power electronics and the need for local off-grid power generation. Today, due to the lack of portable solid-state power generators, we rely on energy storage means, i.e., batteries. Thermoelectric, thermomagnetic and thermionic modules can convert thermal energy to electricity, hence, providing the possibility of local portable power generation. These modules are also used for refrigeration, active cooling of hot spots of electronics1, and thermal regulation2.
In this talk, I will review the basic operation of solid-state thermal to electrical power generators and solid-state coolers. I will then focus on two relatively new classes of thermoelectric materials: topological semimetals3,4 and 2d Van der Waals layered materials5. I will review the latest advancements in these two classes of materials and their relevance to heat management and power generation.
Acknowledgment: This work is supported by the National Science Foundation, grant number 1653268
Bio: Mona Zebarjadi is a joint associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering Departments at the University of Virginia, where she is leading the Energy Science, Nanotechnology and Imagination Lab (ESNAIL). Prior to her current appointment, she was an assistant professor of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Rutgers University. Her research interests are in electron and phonon transport modeling; materials and device design, fabrication and characterization; with emphasis on energy conversion systems such as thermoelectric, thermionic, and thermomagnetic power generators, and heat management in high power electronics and optoelectronic devices. She received her bachelor’s and master's degree in physics from Sharif University and her Ph.D. in EE from UCSC in 2009, after which she spent 3 years at MIT as a postdoctoral fellow working jointly with electrical and mechanical engineering departments. She is the recipient of the 2017 NSF Career award, 2014 AFOSR career award, 2015 A.W. Tyson assistant professorship award, MRS graduate student gold medal, and SWE electronics for imaging scholarship.
1. Adams, M. J., Verosky, M., Zebarjadi, M. & Heremans, J. P. Active Peltier Coolers Based on Correlated and Magnon-Drag Metals. Phys. Rev. Appl. 11, (2019).
2. Adams, M. J., Verosky, M., Zebarjadi, M. & Heremans, J. P. High switching ratio variable-temperature solid-state thermal switch based on thermoelectric effects. Int. J. Heat Mass Transf. 134, 114–118 (2019).
3. Markov, M., Rezaei, S. E., Sadeghi, S. N., Esfarjani, K. & Zebarjadi, M. Thermoelectric properties of semimetals. Phys. Rev. Mater. 3, (2019).
4. Akhanda, M. S. et al. Thermomagnetic properties of Bi2Te3 single crystal in the temperature range from 55 K to 380 K. Phys. Rev. Mater. 5, 015403 (2021).
5. Rosul, M. G. et al. Thermionic transport across gold-graphene-WSe 2 van der Waals heterostructures. Sci. Adv. 5, eaax7827 (2019).