Sunday, December 21, 2008

US Patent 7465871- Thermoelectric nanomaterials with small band offset

This patent is based on a collaboration between M.I.T. and Boston College and teaches incorporating semiconductor nanostructures in a host semiconductor formed of a material having a different energy level than the nanostructures to enhance thermal efficiency in applications such as thermoelectric cooling.

1. A thermoelectric nanocomposite semiconductor composition, comprising:

a semiconductor host material, and

a plurality of nano-sized inclusions distributed randomly within said host material, said inclusions being formed of a semiconductor inclusion material, wherein said host material comprises dopants, and wherein the conduction band-edge offset or a valence band-edge offset between said host material and the inclusion material at an interface of the two materials is less than about 5kBT, wherein kB is the Boltzman constant and T is an average temperature of said nanocomposite composition.

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