Implementation of infrastructure that continuously monitors the Earth’s environment is critical to developing next-generation energy resources that are reliable, economical, space and environmentally friendly. Direct thermal to electrical energy conversion systems that can operate under high temperatures provide a potential power source for the billions of sensors that need to be self-powered and reconfigurable.
This project, which is a collaboration among UC Santa Cruz, Davis, and Merced, is developing novel functional material platforms for thermoelectric power generators. Semiconductor nanowires and metallic nanoparticles that are functionally integrated onto a micrometer-scale structure are being designed in two different types of hybrid platforms. The platforms are being assessed for the overall performance with emphasis on large-scale implementation and high-performance at low cost.