Date of Award

5-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Physics

Advisor

Dr. Terry Tritt

Committee Member

Dr. Jian He

Committee Member

Dr. Apparao Rao

Committee Member

Dr. Catalina Marinescu

Abstract

The imminent oil crisis and global warming has revived research on sustainable energy resources. The researchers are seeking for alternative, clean, cheap, and safe resources of energy, such as solar energy, wind, sea waves, and heat. To this end thermoelectric materials are of technological interest owing to their ability of direct thermal-to-electrical energy conversion. In thermoelectricity, thermal gradients can be used to generate an electrical power output. Recent efforts in thermoelectrics are focused on developing higher efficient power generation materials. These materials can open many new horizons of applications, such as converting solar thermal energy to electricity, waste heat recovery, and as power generators for deep space exploration of our solar system when coupled with a radioactive heat source.

In this dissertation, the overall goal is to investigate both the n-type and p-type of the state of the art thermoelectric material, silicon germanium (SiGe), for high temperature power generation. Further improvement of thermoelectric performance of Si-Ge alloys hinges upon how to significantly reduce the as yet large lattice thermal conductivity, and optimizing the thermoelectric power factor PF.

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