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Nanostructured Thermoelectric Composites

Award Information

Department of Defense
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2005 / STTR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
NanoLab, Inc.
179 Bear Hill Road Waltham, MA 02451-
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 2
Fiscal Year: 2005
Title: Nanostructured Thermoelectric Composites
Agency / Branch: DOD / ARMY
Contract: W911NF-05-C-0116
Award Amount: $749,967.00


NanoLab, Boston College and MIT conducted a Phase I development effort in nanoscale thermoelectric composites. Our goal was to show that the high ZT obtained for quantum dot structures can also be obtained using scalable nanoparticle processes. The research focused on the synthesis of nanoscale lead selenide (PbSe) and lead telluride (PbTe). Next, densification procedures were developed with micron scale powders, then with nanopowders. We achieved near theoretical densities, but saw grain growth. MIT first tested parts made from micron scale powders, which showed expected values for thermal & electrical conductivity. Next, MIT tested parts made from nanoscale powders. For nanoscale PbSe, the electrical conductivity increased to 72,690 S/m. However, the thermal conductivity also increased to 2.12 W/mK, so ZT was ~0.32. We attribute the high thermal conductivity to sub-optimal thermal processing conditions. Similar work was conducted for PbTe, but the nanoscale PbTe had a lower electrical conductivity (15,469 S/m) than its micron scale counterpart (25,614 S/m). We achieved lower thermal conductivity (1.66 vs. 1.8 W/mK), but overall, the ZT stayed near ~0.2. Like PbSe, thermal processing optimization can improve performance. In Phase II, we plan to optimize the densification, then mass produce high ZT nanostructured thermoelectric materials.

Principal Investigator:

David Carnahan

Business Contact:

David Carnahan
Small Business Information at Submission:

Nanolab, Inc.
55 Chapel St Newton, MA 02458

EIN/Tax ID: 043501871
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Research Institution Information:
Mass Ave
Cambridge, MA 02139
Contact: Gang Chen
Contact Phone: (617) 253-2423
RI Type: Nonprofit college or university