Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"Conformal Thermoelectric Generator for Self-powered Sensors "

About the Project

Project Time & Type:
Summer 2017 - DURI
Research area(s):
materials science, electrical engineering
Project Description:
The objective of this proposal is to develop a new class of conformal thermoelectric generators (TEG) by using additive manufacturing process to fabricate a 3D device on a flexible substrate for use in self-powered sensors for naval applications. TEG is a solid-state technology that can directly convert thermal energy into electricity. This technology offers near limitless opportunities for power generation since 60% of energy produced worldwide is wasted as heat. However, most heat sources have non-planar surfaces or spatial restrictions that are incompatible with rigid plate-like TEGs, and would benefit from conformal TEGs that can be placed on surfaces for maximum efficiency. Current production of conformal TEGs is hindered by poor compatibility between materials and process steps. For example, most TE materials require high sintering temperatures (500–800°C), which is incompatible with polymer substrates and metal interconnects. The PI has developed an in-line fabrication of conformal TEGs using several nano-deposition methods to overcome the challenge described above, which can be integrated for a continuous manufacturing process.
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 and characterization of nanomaterials and devices.
Related Website(s):
Desired Qualifications:
The applicant should have technical background in materials science and engineering, chemistry, 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

Gary J. Cheng
Industrial Engineering