Looking at the future with a fine toothcomb… Development of new thermoelectric materials based on two-dimensional nanostructures

Get to personally know how the future will be. Our researchers present you with their most promising research lines which will help improve quality of life and create jobs, wealth and social and economic development.

Today we present you with a project coordinated from CIQUS which investigates the development of technologies that substantially improve the efficiency of generating, converting and employing energy.

Project: Development of new thermoelectric materials based on two-dimensional nanostructures

Research Group: Condensed Matter Chemistry Group

Institution: University of Santiago de Compostela (USC-CIQUS)

Principal Investigator: Francisco Rivadulla Fernández

The project

One the one hand, the current growth rate in energy demand, and for it to be sustainable, requires technologies to be developed that substantially improve the efficiency of generating, converting and employing energy. On the other hand, improving energy efficiency (using less energy to produce the same amount of work) is particularly important to help reduce the associated environmental impact.

Thermoelectric devices respond to a difference in temperature by generating an electric voltage that can be employed to do work. In its inverse version, an electric current that flows through this device produces a thermal difference between its ends and can be used, for example, to refrigerate another element.

In our work, we explored new ways of designing new materials with thermoelectric properties. Specifically, we are creating two-dimensional systems: layers and multilayers that are a few nanometres thick.

The results

In the project, the approach we have adopted allows to independently handle the electrical and thermal properties of thermoelectric systems for the purpose of maximising their thermoelectric response to take a qualitative jump forward in the efficiency that these devices currently offer.

The project is now in its second year (it lasts 5 years in all) so, to date, the methodology to prepare nanostructures and experimental methods to characterise them has been prepared. Preliminary experimental measures are now being taken.

As the project is still in its initial phase, no patent has been generated, although this is feasible once the first satisfactory results have been obtained.

Internationalisation

This project is financed with 1.5 million euros for 5 years by the European Research Council by the Starting Grants Programme. Besides, we scientifically collaborate with several groups in the USA and elsewhere in Europe.

For further information:

Name and surname(s): Francisco Rivadulla Fernández

Telephone: +34 881 81 55 78

Email:  f.rivadulla_@usc.es

Post: Principal Investigator of the project entitled “Development of new thermoelectric materials based on two-dimensional nanostructures”.

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