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Nanoscale Thermoelectric Energy Conversion Devices and Interdisciplinary Sustainability Education

Dr. Ali Shakouri
Mary Jo and Robert L. Kirk Director Birck Nanotechnology Center and Professor of Electrical and
Computer Engineering
Purdue University

Energy consumption in our society is increasing rapidly. A significant fraction of the energy is lost in the form of heat. In this talk we describe thermoelectric devices that allow direct conversion of heat into electricity. Novel nanocomposites are developed where the heat and charge transport are modified at the atomic level. Potential to increase the energy conversion efficiency and bring the cost down to $0.10-0.20/W will be discussed. I also describe some of our sustainability education activities. Although awareness of sustainability problems has increased significantly in recent years, major gaps remain in society’s willingness to implement the necessary changes. We describe our efforts to increase interactions between students from engineering and social sciences as well as an international exchange program.

Biographical Information

Ali Shakouri received his Engineering degree from Telecom Paris, France in 1990 and Ph.D. from California Institute of Technology in 1995. His current research is on nanoscale heat and current transport in semiconductor devices, high resolution thermal imaging, and waste heat recovery systems. He is also working on a new interdisciplinary sustainability curriculum in collaboration with colleagues in engineering and social sciences. He received the Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering in 1999 and the NSF CAREER Award in 2000.