The mission of this Center is to investigate, at a most fundamental level, the physical and chemical principles that will allow the understanding of how advanced thermoelectric materials function and the design and synthesis of such materials.
The Center for Revolutionary Materials for Solid State Energy Conversion will focus on solid state conversion of thermal energy to useful electrical power, both to increase the efficiency of traditional industrial energy processes and to tap new unused sources of energy such as solar thermal. Additionally materials with enhanced thermoelectric properties will find application in high efficiency, environmentally benign climate control systems. Our team represents some of the most experienced and capable researchers spanning all aspects of thermoelectric science from the design, synthesis and characterization of materials through the development of thermoelectric devices and systems. We will undertake a broad-based effort in semiconductor energy conversion materials utilizing and combining experimental, theoretical, and computational efforts. While ultimately the solution to the energy challenge is a technological one, beginning to solve this problem will take a serious effort at understanding physical processes at an elemental level. Our focus, therefore, will be on the fundamental aspects of thermoelectricity, which have their origin in physical processes occurring on the atomic scale. A major focus of our effort will be in the synthesis of new forms of matter, including both single phase alloys and compounds and composite structures created using nanoscience.