The Thermoelectric thrust of CSTEC focuses on fundamental transport processes that govern solid state energy conversion, i.e., how the charge and energy flow through the atomic lattice or an array of assembled molecules. The CSTEC team tackles the challenges of thermoelectricity comprehensively by studying transport phenomena from a multi-dimensional perspective that spans charge and energy transport in molecular junctions, conduction processes in two-dimensional films, and the role the nanostructural features play in bulk nano-composite materials. We have made great strides during the first three years of the existence of CSTEC - we have learned how carriers and energy flow from one electrode to the other through a string of molecules; we have opened the curtain on the issue of carrier dynamics in archetypal thermoelectric films based on Sb2Te3 and we have shown how to fabricate nanowires in Sb2Te3 films using above-bandgap irradiation with linearly polarized femtosecond lasers; we have demonstrated the critical role atomic ordering plays on the filler-sites of skutterudites in order to minimize heat transport; and we have shed light on the variation of the carrier effective mass in GaAs1-xNx. We look to make even more exciting discoveries in the future that address the key issue of thermoelectricity, i.e., how to design a superior thermoelectric material that enables a smooth conduct of electrical charges but blocks the flow of energy.

Thrust Leader:  Prof. Ctirad Uher (Physics)

Recent Publications - Abstracts (Click on Title) and Science Highlight Slides (Click on Image)