Since heat is the absolute final form of any kind of energy, harnessing thermal energy is one of the ultimate goals in science and technology in modern society. Challenges in materials design and synthesis have always been a key to exploiting heat by direct thermal-to-electrical energy conversion and related technologies. Moreover, recent advances in nanotechnology have elicited unconventional thermal transport across nanostructured materials and nano-interfaces, opening a new direction to harnessing thermal energy. This symposium will highlight a combination of new ideas, new materials, and device concepts by focusing on novel processing and synthesis methods, materials, technologies, and applications related to direct thermal-to-electrical energy conversion and thermal energy harnessing. The symposium will focus on thermoelectrics and thermionics and emphasize thermal, electrical, and mechanical properties of new materials, and processing of those materials into device structures. It also will highlight theoretical insight and materials innovations in unconventional heat transfer that enable novel approaches toward higher efficiency in thermal energy harvesting and heat management.

The symposium includes theoretical studies of material transport properties, band structure, crystal chemistry, thermodynamic analysis, and energy transfer. Experimental efforts will include new capabilities in solid-state synthesis, bulk materials, thin films, superlattices, nano-interfaces, and nanostructured materials, including recent advances in nanocomposites (nanomaterials or inherent nanostructures in bulk thermoelectric material matrices). It will also highlight advances in phonon engineering, phase transformation, thermal conductivity switching, and defect engineering in inorganic and organic solids. New developments in material property and device performance measurements and metrology will also be presented.

In thermoelectric materials, not only do the high peak and average ZT of materials deserve attention, the mechanical properties, thermal stability, and oxidation resistance should be taken into consideration as well. Moreover, the thermoelectrics requires more efforts on thermoelectric module/device design, joint and brazing materials, and fabrication processes because overall device performance, rather than material performance, is the key factor that motivates the investment and research input and leads to real applications for energy harvesting and cooling. For small footprint devices, exploring micro and nanotechnology approaches allows us to address together micromodule fabrication and low-dimension materials integration. The intent of thermoelectric sessions will be to provide an opportunity for scientists and engineers to discuss critical issues and exchange opinions in thermoelectric materials and device development, commercial application, and future opportunities.

proposed sessions
  • High-efficiency bulk thermoelectric materials
  • Nanoscale thermoelectric materials
  • Theoretical guidance to high-efficiency thermoelectric energy conversion
  • Oxides and other materials with strong electron correlation
  • New and emerging technologies for thermoelectric power conversion
  • Thermoelectrics for harvesting solar and unused waste heat energy
  • Thermionics and other related topics
  • Synthetic strategies for preparing novel materials and compounds
  • Thermoelectric nanocomposite materials
  • Processing of bulk and thin-film nanostructured materials
  • New ideas, new materials, and device concepts for thermal energy harnessing
  • Phonon engineering and emerging thermal transport technologies
  • Phonon transmission and scattering across nano-interfaces
  • Materials property measurement and new metrology techniques
  • Design, performance testing, fabrication, and processing of energy conversion devices
  • Device performance requirements for future applications
  • Applications: new ideas in thermoelectric applications, waste-heat recovery, and cooling

In Chung, Seoul National University, Korea,

Bed Poudel, Pennsylvania State University, U.S.A.

Amin Nozariasbmarz, Pennsylvania State University, U.S.A.

Wenjie Li, Pennsylvania State University, U.S.A.

Luis Fonseca, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain