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Improved Microminiature Thermionic Converter Using Low Work Function AlGaN…

Award Information

Department of Defense
Office of the Secretary of Defense
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2002 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
2500 CENTRAL AVE. # 286 Boulder, CO 80301 2845
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2002
Title: Improved Microminiature Thermionic Converter Using Low Work Function AlGaN Electrodes
Agency / Branch: DOD / OSD
Contract: F33615-03-M-2309
Award Amount: $100,000.00


"There is a general need to generate high energy density electrical power sources for space, aircraft, ground and naval vehicles, as well as to convert the heat already present in high temperature sources into electrical power. Thermionic power generationis a very attractive solution to both needs. Thermionic emission typically occurs from metal surfaces when the temperature of the metal excites the electrons to energies exceeding the metals' work function, allowing the electrons to be emitted intovacuum. The work function of most metals fall in the range of 4-5 eV, requiring temperatures exceeding 2000K to produce significant thermionic emission. Astralux proposes to build and test a revolutionary new cathode material based on AlGaN. Due to thelow work function of the AlGaN, much larger emission currents can be achieved at a given temperature than would be possible with a simple metal emitter. When compared to MTCs fabricated from metal/metal oxide electrodes, our MTC will demonstrate largerpower conversion by increasing the average voltage of emitted electrons, increasing the emitted current and reducing the space charge effects. These improvements will lead to a device capable of thermionic emission at temperatures well below 1000 K. Thethermionic power generator addresses growing markets where the needs of remote, off-grid power continues to increase together with the overall need for power. Thermionic power may be able to

Principal Investigator:

Randolph E. Treece
Vice President

Business Contact:

Randolph E. Treece
Vice President
Small Business Information at Submission:

Astralux, Inc.
2500 Central Ave. Boulder, CO 80301

EIN/Tax ID: 841195333
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No