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Heat-Harvesting Nanomaterials

Nanomesh: A thin film of silicon riddled with regular nanoscale holes could be an efficient thermoelectric material.

Engineers have long dreamed of harvesting waste heat from a microchip or car engine and turning it into usable electricity. But thermoelectric materials, which convert heat into electricity, have never been efficient enough to move beyond a few niche applications.

Now researchers at Caltech have demonstrated new materials that could boost the efficiency of thermoelectric devices. They’ve demonstrated the design using silicon, but say it should improve the performance of other thermoelectric materials, too.

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Posted by on October 5, 2010 in Concepts, Technology

 

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