Our main focus is on finding and optimizing new thermoelectric materials. Thermoelectrics are capable of converting heat into electrical energy and vice versa. This environmentally friendly energy conversion currently has several applications, but is limited by its low efficiency. We are attempting to increase the efficiency so that thermoelectrics may be used to recover electricity from the nowadays abundant waste heat, e.g. in the exhaust of automobiles. One of our newest projects is to utilize Cu ion mobility to lower the thermal conductivity. This mobility has to be localized within each unit cell in order to inhibit Cu ion migration throughout the material, which would otherwise cause device degradation. Since the thermoelectric properties depend on the thermopower as well as on the electrical and thermal conductivity, various property measurements are routinely carried out in our group. The syntheses are guided by calculations performed by students who are fascinated by the theoretical aspects of chemical research.
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WISE believes in clean energy that is accessible and affordable for all. Our mission is to conduct original research and develop innovative solutions and policies to help transform the energy system for long-term sustainability.
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