High-Efficiency, Nanowire Based Thermoelectric Devices for Radioisotope Power Conversion

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX11CE14P
Agency Tracking Number: 104913
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2011
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: S3.03
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
NJ, Piscataway, NJ, 08854-3723
DUNS: 787144807
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Nick Sbrockey
 Principal Investigator
 (732) 302-9274
 sbrockey@structuredmaterials.com
Business Contact
 Gary Tompa
Title: President
Phone: (732) 302-9274
Email: GSTompa@structuredmaterials.com
Research Institution
 Stub
Abstract
This SBIR Phase I proposal responds to topic S3.03 of the 2010 NASA SBIR solicitation, for Power Generation and Conversion. Thermoelectric devices offer a simple and reliable means to convert radioisotope thermal energy into useable electrical power. Previously, thermoelectric devices based on bulk semiconductor materials have been limited by low conversion efficiencies, with Figure of Merit (ZT) values around 1.0 or less. Increasing ZT above 1.0 has thus far proved difficult, due to the fundamental limitation of identifying semiconductor materials with both a high electrical conductivity and low thermal conductivity.This SBIR project will develop high efficiency thermoelectric devices based on nanowires. The use of nanotechnology provides a means to circumvent previous limitations, and achieve combinations of properties not possible with bulk materials. Phase I will demonstrate technical feasibility by producing high efficiency thermoelectric devices based on nanowires. In Phase II, we will build and demonstrate prototype high efficiency thermoelectric devices. Phase II will also develop low cost manufacturing technology for the nanowire based thermoelectric devices, and demonstrate a technology readiness level of TRL 6.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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