Wednesday, January 12, 2011

US Patent 7868243 - Nanowire thermoelectric converter

Thermoelectric devices can be implemented with solid-state materials to provide electrically controlled cooling without moving parts. This patent teaches a way to implement thermoelectric cooling on the nanoscale using p-doped and n-doped nanowires. Claim 1 reads:

1. A nanostructure comprising:

a plurality of first nanowires, wherein:

each first nanowire is made of doped semi-conducting material of a first type;

each first nanowire includes an associated second nanowire made of doped semi-conducting material of a second type, wherein one of the first and second type is p-doped and the other is n-doped;

each first nanowire is coaxial with its associated second nanowire and is separated from its associated second nanowire by an insulating material;

each second nanowire has a tip; and

a droplet is disposed on the tip of each second nanowire so as to individually electrically connect the second nanowire to its associated first nanowire.