Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"Developing Cost-Effective Thermoelectric Materials for Civil Infrastructure Applications "

About the Project

Project Time & Type:
Summer 2017 - DURI
Research area(s):
Project Description:
A total of 60% of energy produced in the United States is wasted as heat, which could be directly converted into 3.6 MWh of electricity using cost-effective thermoelectric (TE) materials due to Seebeck effect. However, the potential impact of TE materials is hindered by the heavy use of toxic, rare, and expensive (e.g. Te and Se) elements. Lu’s preliminary work indicated that oxides and nitrides, in particularly zinc oxide (ZnO) and gallium nitride (GaN), are promising cost effective TE materials to overcome this challenge, due to their favorable TE properties and earth abundance. To further advance this opportunity, this project investigates a novel mechanism for nanostructuring bulk Nitrides and Oxides with multiple length-scale structures to improve their TE properties for power generation.
Expected Student Contributions:
The recruited undergraduate students will work directly with a PhD student and supervised by Dr. Lu. The candidate will benefit from working in an interdisciplinary research group and will be exposed to state-of-art nanofabrication and analytical tools. The specific responsibilities include synthesizing nanomaterials and characterizing materials properties.
Related Website(s):
Desired Qualifications:
The applicant should have technical background in materials science and engineering, civil engineering, chemistry, physics, chemical engineering or a related area. The applicant should be highly motivated, able to work in team, and have good oral and written communication skills.
Estimated Weekly Hours:
Department awards independent research credits for this project?

Professor in Charge

Lu, Na
civil engineering

Student Supervisor

Luna Lu
Associate Professor

Cooperating Faculty

Jianguo Mei