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Thermoelectric Energy Harvesting

Thermoelectricity (TE) is a solid state phenomenon that directly converts heat energy into electric current, and vice versa.  In the US a total of 3000 trillion BTU/year of waste heat could be directly converted into electricity using TE technology. However, the impact of this technology is currently limited by the heavy use of toxic and rare (e.g. Bi2Te3, PbTe) materials with their low operating temperatures. Our current work focuses on nanostructuring nitrides and oxides with tailored thermal and electrical properties for high temperature TE power generation.