A novel, highly-customizable device architecture for GaN thermoelectric micro power generators.
Currently practical thermoelectric technology consists mainly of Bi2Te3 based materials. These materials however are not only toxic and scarce, but have a maximum operating temperature of roughly 150°C. The current material used for high temperature applications is SiGe, but low efficiencies and limited room for improvement necessitate the search for an improved high temperature thermoelectric material. Wide bandgap GaN and its family of alloys are promising candidates to fill this role because they are non-toxic and very stable at high temperatures.
Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara have developed a novel, highly-customizable device architecture for GaN thermoelectric micro power generators. The device structure consists of only n-type GaN with gold interconnections. Several measurements performed on this device proved the suitability of GaN at high operating temperatures for this application. For example, a maximum average temperature of 825K was achieved with no sign of device or contact degradation. This was the highest temperature tested due to limitations in the testing apparatus, not by device performance.
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thermoelectric, energy efficiency, GaN, indaltenergy, indthermo, cenIEE, indfeat, indadvmat