Abstract: While greater than 80% of all electricity continues to be generated by heat engines, methods of directly converting heat into electricity remain elusive. Thermoelectric generators are one technology area that is capable of doing this without moving parts but the low efficiency and high cost has limited their terrestrial deployment. A recent cost-performance analysis suggests that polymer-based thermoelectrics have the potential to be one of the lowest cost power generating technologies on a $/W basis if their properties can be modestly improved. This seminar will discuss new transport phenomenon at organic-inorganic interfaces that can be used to enhance thermoelectric performance in hybrid materials. Specifically, this seminar will cover thermoelectric transport in single-molecular junctions and apply those principles to creating new solution-processable hybrid thermoelectric materials. The transport properties and scientific origin of these enhancements present in bulk materials will be discussed in depth. Furthermore, the origin of these enhancements points to a new area of scientific research into amorphous thermoelectric materials where a deeper understanding of the thermal properties of disordered and semi-ordered materials is necessary.
Biography: Shannon Yee is currently in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of California Berkeley working on developing novel thermoelectric materials by leveraging recent scientific discoveries at the organic-inorganic interface. He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 2007 and his M.S. in Nuclear Engineering in 2008 from The Ohio State University. In 2007, he was named a U.S. DOE Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative (AFCI) Fellow for his work on nuclear fuel cycle dynamics. In 2008, he was named a Hertz Foundation Fellow to support his PhD in developing the next generation of energy technologies. In 2010, Shannon was named the first U.S. DOE Advanced Research Project Agency Energy (ARPA-E) Fellow where he helped to shape ARPA-E during its inaugural year.