frank's blog

Nanomesh – Lead To More Efficient Devices That Convert Heat To Electricity

Posted in ideas, innovation by aldorf on October 5, 2010

A new type of mesh material made out of silicon—the second most abundant element in Earth’s crust—could lead to more efficient devices that convert heat to electricity and vice versa.

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have developed a type of silicon-based nanomesh that is composed of a thin film with a grid-like arrangement of tiny holes. This unique design makes it difficult for heat to travel through the material, lowering its thermal conductivity to near silicon’s theoretical limit.

At the same time, the design allows electricity to flow as well as it does in unmodified silicon.

“In terms of controlling thermal conductivity, these are pretty sophisticated devices,” says James Heath, a chemistry professor at Caltech, who led the work. A paper about the research will be published in the October issue of the journalNature Nanotechnology.

full story at CalTech.

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