Next Generation Thermoelectric Devices

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA9550-11-C-0036
Agency Tracking Number: F10B-T26-0287
Amount: $99,833.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2011
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: AF10-BT26
Solicitation Number: 2010.B
Small Business Information
MicroXact, Inc.
2000 Kraft Drive, Suite 1207, Blacksburg, VA, -
DUNS: 962366758
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Vladimir Kochergin
 President&CEO
 (614) 917-7202
 vkochergin@microxact.com
Business Contact
 Paul Hines
Title: Vice President of Operations
Phone: (540) 392-6917
Email: phines@microxact.com
Research Institution
 Virginia Polytechnic Institute
 Hans Robinson
 Physics Department
Robeson Hall, Mail Stop 0435
Blacksburg, VA, 24061-0203
 (540) 231-8732
 Nonprofit college or university
Abstract
ABSTRACT: Thermoelectric (TE) devices already found a wide range of commercial, military and aerospace applications. However, at present commercially available TE devices typically offer limited heat to electricity conversion efficiencies, well below the fundamental thermodynamic limit, calling for the development of higher efficiency materials. The team of MicroXact Inc., Virginia Tech and Sundew Technologies Inc. is proposing to develop a revolutionary high efficiency thermoelectric material fabricated on completely new fabrication principles. The material comprises the three-dimensional"wells"of PbTe/PbSe superlattices fabricated by a conformal coating via Atomic layer Deposition (ALD) of macroporous silicon substrates. Such a material will provide ZT>2 at macroscopic thicknesses of the material, permitting 20% or more conversion efficiencies for 400K-600K temperature range. In Phase I of the project the thorough model of the proposed TE material will be developed, ALD deposition of PbTe and PbSe will be developed and demonstrated on plane Si wafers and macroporous silicon pore walls. In Phase II the team will fabricate the proposed material and device, and will demonstrate ZT>2 and conversion efficiencies exceeding 20%. After the Phase II MicroXact will commercialize the technology. BENEFIT: Due to predicted unmatched performance characteristics (high efficiency, small size/weight) and large volume-compatible, economically advantageous fabrication process the proposed thermoelectric materials and devices are expected to find a wide range of defense, scientific and commercial applications. Potential DoD applications of the proposed technology are spanning from power generation (higher efficiency jet engines, additional power sources for military satellites) to efficient cooling of infrared cameras in focal plane arrays and thermoelectric cooling of electronics and optoelectronics. In all these applications the incorporation of the proposed material will result in significant improvements of operational characteristics of mentioned components. Commercial applications include auto market (where thermoelectric materials are already being used for cooling seats and improving efficiency of engine), water coolers, and potentially power plants. The advantages of the proposed technology will provide the competitive advantage to MicroXact sufficient for successful market penetration. The proposed concept, when developed and commercialized, is expected to cause a significant impact on both the DoD missions and commercial applications.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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