Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 
Datenbankrecherche:

 

A Quantum Dot Energy Harvester: Turning Waste Heat into Electricity on the Nanoscale

14.02.2013
A new type of nanoscale engine has been proposed that would use quantum dots to generate electricity from waste heat, potentially making microcircuits more efficient.

"The system is really a simple one, which exploits certain properties of quantum dots to harvest heat," Professor Andrew Jordan of the University of Rochester said. "Despite this simplicity, the power it could generate is still larger than any other nanoengine that has been considered until now."


An array on nano energy harvesters in what the researchers call a "swiss cheese" arrangement.

The engines would be microscopic in size, and have no moving parts. Each would only produce a tiny amount of power – a millionth or less of what a light bulb uses. But by combining millions of the engines in a layered structure, Jordan says a device that was a square inch in area could produce about a watt of power for every one degree difference in temperature. Enough of them could make a notable difference in the energy consumption of a computer.

A paper describing the new work is being published in Physical Review B by Jordan, a theoretical physics professor, and his collaborators, Björn Sothmann and Markus Buttiker from the University of Geneva, and Rafael Sánchez from the Material Sciences Institute in Madrid.

Jordan explained that each of the proposed nanoengines is based on two adjacent quantum dots, with current flowing through one and then the other. Quantum dots are manufactured systems that due to their small size act as quantum mechanical objects, or artificial atoms.

The path the electrons have to take across both quantum dots can be adjusted to have an uphill slope. To make it up this (electrical) hill, electrons need energy. They take the energy from the middle of the region, which is kept hot, and use this energy to come out the other side, higher up the hill. This removes heat from where it is being generated and converts it into electrical power with a high efficiency.

To do this, the system makes use of a quantum mechanical effect called resonant tunneling, which means the quantum dots act as perfect energy filters. When the system is in the resonant tunneling mode, electrons can only pass through the quantum dots when they have a specific energy that can be adjusted. All other electrons that do not have this energy are blocked.

Quantum dots can be grown in a self-assembling way out of semiconductor materials. This allows for a practical way to produce many of these tiny engines as part of a larger array, and in multiple layers, which the authors refer to as the Swiss Cheese Sandwich configuration (see image).

How much electrical power is produced depends on the temperature difference across the energy harvester – the higher the temperature difference, the higher the power that will be generated. This requires good insulation between the hot and cold regions, Jordan says.

Contact: Leonor Sierra
lsierra@ur.rochester.edu
585.276.6264
About the University of Rochester
The University of Rochester (www.rochester.edu) is one of the nation's leading private universities. Located in Rochester, N.Y., the University gives students exceptional opportunities for interdisciplinary study and close collaboration with faculty through its unique cluster-based curriculum. Its College, School of Arts and Sciences, and Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences are complemented by its Eastman School of Music, Simon School of Business, Warner School of Education, Laboratory for Laser Energetics, School of Medicine and Dentistry, School of Nursing, Eastman Institute for Oral Health, and the Memorial Art Gallery.

Leonor Sierra | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.rochester.edu
http://www.rochester.edu/news/show.php?id=5562

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht NUS engineers develop novel method for resolving spin texture of topological surface states using transport measurements
26.04.2018 | National University of Singapore

nachricht European particle-accelerator community publishes the first industry compendium
26.04.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Organische Elektronik, Elektronenstrahl- und Plasmatechnik FEP

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Why we need erasable MRI scans

New technology could allow an MRI contrast agent to 'blink off,' helping doctors diagnose disease

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a widely used medical tool for taking pictures of the insides of our body. One way to make MRI scans easier to read is...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE und teamtechnik bringen leitfähiges Kleben für Siliciumsolarzellen zu Industriereife

Das Kleben der Zellverbinder von Hocheffizienz-Solarzellen im industriellen Maßstab ist laut dem Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme ISE und dem Anlagenhersteller teamtechnik marktreif. Als Ergebnis des gemeinsamen Forschungsprojekts »KleVer« ist die Klebetechnologie inzwischen so weit ausgereift, dass sie als alternative Verschaltungstechnologie zum weit verbreiteten Weichlöten angewendet werden kann. Durch die im Vergleich zum Löten wesentlich niedrigeren Prozesstemperaturen können vor allem temperatursensitive Hocheffizienzzellen schonend und materialsparend verschaltet werden.

Dabei ist der Durchsatz in der industriellen Produktion nur geringfügig niedriger als beim Verlöten der Zellen. Die Zuverlässigkeit der Klebeverbindung wurde...

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: Innovatives 3D-Druckverfahren für die Raumfahrt

Auf der Hannover Messe 2018 präsentiert die Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (BAM), wie Astronauten in Zukunft Werkzeug oder Ersatzteile per 3D-Druck in der Schwerelosigkeit selbst herstellen können. So können Gewicht und damit auch Transportkosten für Weltraummissionen deutlich reduziert werden. Besucherinnen und Besucher können das innovative additive Fertigungsverfahren auf der Messe live erleben.

Pulverbasierte additive Fertigung unter Schwerelosigkeit heißt das Projekt, bei dem ein Bauteil durch Aufbringen von Pulverschichten und selektivem...

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: IWS-Ingenieure formen moderne Alu-Bauteile für zukünftige Flugzeuge

Mit Unterdruck zum Leichtbau-Flugzeug

Ingenieure des Fraunhofer-Instituts für Werkstoff- und Strahltechnik (IWS) in Dresden haben in Kooperation mit Industriepartnern ein innovatives Verfahren...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industrie & Wirtschaft
Veranstaltungen

Konferenz »Encoding Cultures. Leben mit intelligenten Maschinen« | 27. & 28.04.2018 ZKM | Karlsruhe

26.04.2018 | Veranstaltungen

Konferenz zur Marktentwicklung von Gigabitnetzen in Deutschland

26.04.2018 | Veranstaltungen

infernum-Tag 2018: Digitalisierung und Nachhaltigkeit

24.04.2018 | Veranstaltungen

VideoLinks
Wissenschaft & Forschung
Weitere VideoLinks im Überblick >>>
 
Aktuelle Beiträge

Weltrekord an der Uni Paderborn: Optische Datenübertragung mit 128 Gigabits pro Sekunde

26.04.2018 | Informationstechnologie

Multifunktionaler Mikroschwimmer transportiert Fracht und zerstört sich selbst

26.04.2018 | Biowissenschaften Chemie

Berner Mars-Kamera liefert erste farbige Bilder vom Mars

26.04.2018 | Physik Astronomie

Weitere B2B-VideoLinks
IHR
JOB & KARRIERE
SERVICE
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics