GaN-Based Thermoelectric Device for Micro-Power Generation

Tech ID: 21830 / UC Case 2009-389-0

Brief Description

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.



  • Very stable at high temperatures (>825K)
  • Low thermal conductivity
  • Electrical conductivity maintained at the same level as standard nitride films


  • Thermoelectric Devices


This technology is available for licensing. See below for a selection of the patents and patent applications related to this invention. Please inquire for full patent portfolio status.

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Issued Patent 8,692,105 04/08/2014 2009-389


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Other Information


thermoelectric, energy efficiency, GaN, indaltenergy, indthermo, cenIEE, indfeat, indadvmat

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