2006 Purdue–Silicon Valley Symposia

Nanostrutured Semiconductors: The Key to Efficient Solid-State Energy Conversion Devices?

The promise of “solid-state” has been realized in computing and communications. In energy conversion devices, however, we are still reliant on heated filaments, gas discharges, and liquid-vapor phase change. Although compact and robust solid-state energy conversion devices have been utilized for decades in niche applications, widespread implementation of solid-state lighting, thermoelectric refrigerators, and thermoelectric generators will require substantial improvements in efficiency. This talk will highlight research at Purdue and elsewhere aimed at exploiting nanostructured semiconductors to break through the performance envelope for solid-state energy conversion devices ranging from white LEDs for general illumination to thermoelectric generators for converting engine and exhaust waste heat to electrical power.

Tim Sands

Basil S. Turner Professor of Engineering
Purdue University

Tim Sands received his PhD in materials science at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1984. He joined the Purdue faculty in the fall of 2002 after nine years as a faculty member in Berkeley's Department of Materials Science and Engineering. While at Berkeley he served as chair of the Applied Science and Technology (AS&T) graduate group (1997-99).

From 1984-93 Sands was a member of the technical staff, a district manager, and a research group director at Bell Communications Research (Bellcore) in Red Bank, New Jersey. He has published more than 200 papers and has been granted 11 patents in the areas of metal/semiconductor contacts, heteroepitaxy, thermoelectric materials, ferroelectric and piezoelectric materials and devices, semiconductor nanostructures, laser processing, and heterogeneous integration.

Professor Sands is presently the Basil S. Turner Professor of Engineering and a member of the Birck Nanotechnology Center, with joint appointments in Purdue's Materials Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering schools.