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nanoHUB-U: Thermoelectricity: From Atoms to Systems

This five-week short course aims to introduce students to the thermoelectric theory and applications using a unique, “bottom up” approach to carrier transport that has emerged from research on molecular and nanoscale electronics.

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Offering: 01a
Section: Self Paced

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About the Instructors

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Mark Lundstrom

Purdue University

Mark Lundstrom is the Don and Carol Scifres Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University. He was the founding director of the Network for Computational Nanotechnology and now serves as chairman of its Executive Committee. Lundstrom earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Minnesota in 1973 and 1974, respectively and joined the Purdue faculty upon completing his doctorate on the West Lafayette campus in 1980. Before attending Purdue, he worked at Hewlett-Packard Corporation on MOS process development and manufacturing. At Purdue, he has worked on solar cells, heterostructure devices, carrier transport physics, and the physics and simulation of nanoscale transistors. His current research interests focus on the physics and technology of energy conversion devices. Lundstrom is a fellow the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the American Physical Society (APS), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He has received several awards for his contributions to research and education and is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering.

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Supriyo Datta

Purdue University

Supriyo Datta received his B.Tech. from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur, India in 1975 and his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1979. In 1981, he joined Purdue University, where he is (since 1999) the Thomas Duncan Distinguished Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He started his career in the field of ultrasonics and was selected by the Ultrasonics group as its outstanding young engineer to receive an IEEE Centennial Key to the Future Award and by the ASEE to receive the Terman Award for his book on Surface Acoustic Wave Devices.

Since 1985 he has focused on current flow in nanoscale electronic devices and the approach pioneered by his group for the description of quantum transport, combining the non-equilibrium Green function (NEGF) formalism of many-body physics with the Landauer formalism from mesoscopic physics, has been widely adopted in the field of nanoelectronics. This is described in his books Electronic Transport in Mesoscopic Systems (Cambridge 1995) and Quantum Transport: Atom to Transistor (Cambridge 2005) and he was elected to the US National Academy of Engineering (NAE) for this work.

Datta is also well-known for his contributions to spin electronics and molecular electronics. He has received Technical Field Awards from the IEEE both for research and for graduate teaching and was selected by Sigma Xi to receive the Procter Prize (http://www.sigmaxi.org/programs/prizes/procter.datta.shtml).

The problem of current flow involves many fundamental issues of non-equilibrium statistical mechanics and with this in mind, Datta’s latest book Lessons from Nanoelectronics: A New Perspective on Transport (World Scientific 2012) tries to make the insights gained from nanoelectronics accessible to a broader audience ( http://nanohub.org/groups/lnebook ).

Ali Shakouri's photo

Ali Shakouri

Purdue University

Ali Shakouri is a professor of electrical and computer engineering and the Mary Jo and Robert L. Kirk Director of the Birck Nanotechnology Center at Purdue University . He received his Ph.D. from California Institute of Technology in 1995. His research interests include quantum electronics, nano and microscale heat and current transport in semiconductor devices, thermoelectric/thermionic energy conversion, submicron thermal imaging, micro refrigerators on a chip and novel optoelectronic integrated circuits.

THERMOELECTRICITY: FROM ATOMS TO SYSTEMS

This five-week short course aims to introduce students to the thermoelectric theory and applications using a unique, “bottom up” approach to carrier transport that has emerged from research on molecular and nanoscale electronics.



PROFESSORS SHAKOURI, LUNDSTROM & DATTA


ALI SHAKOURI (Center) is the Mary Jo and Robert L. Kirk Director of the Birck Nanotechnology Center and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University. His group studies the mutual interaction of heat, light, and electricity in nano and microscale materials and devices and is working to achieve high efficiency and high power density direct thermal to electric energy conversion.

SUPRIYO DATTA (Right) is the Thomas Duncan Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University. The Datta group is well-known for its contribution to quantum transport modeling in nanoscale electronic devices.

MARK LUNDSTROM (Left) is the Don and Carol Scifres Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University. The Lundstrom group explores the physics and technology of nantransistors, solar cells, and thermoelectric devices.



Scientific Overview Video


Course Objectives

This five-week short course aims to introduce students to the thermoelectric theory and applications using a unique, “bottom up” approach to carrier transport that has emerged from research on molecular and nanoscale electronics. Intuition about thermoelectric relations and efficiency limits are obtained by studying a single atom. The first two weeks of the course introduce this new perspective and connects it to the traditional treatment of thermoelectric science. Landauer formalism provides a unified framework to study both electron and phonon transport.

The following three weeks introduce latest nanoscale and macroscale characterization techniques, the design of thermoelectric systems, and recent advances in nanoengineered thermoelectric materials and physics. Online simulations using nanoHUB will illustrate transport in realistic TE materials and energy balance in thermoelectric devices. System requirements for electronics cooling and for large scale direct heat to electricity conversion in waste heat recovery and topping cycle applications, and trade-offs beyond material’s thermoelectric figure-of-merit, in terms of the heat sink requirements, thermal stress, material usage and overall cost will be briefly introduced.

The course is taught at the level of a Purdue University course for undergraduate seniors or first year graduate students. The course also provides experts on thermoelectric science and technology with a new perspective. The instructor-led online course can be taken from anywhere in the world from October 3 through November 6, 2013 for a nominal fee of $30.00 and after that, for free in a self-paced mode through nanoHUB-U (http://nanoHUB.org/u). Certification is available to students in the instructor-led course.

Who Should Take the Course

Thermoelectric devices are being used in a growing number of applications such as energy harvesting and precision cooling. The course should be useful for advanced undergraduates, beginning graduate students as well are researchers and practicing engineers and scientists seeking an understanding of basic concepts and how these concepts are translated into practical devices.

Prerequisites

This course follows the nanoHUB-U philosophy of aiming to be as broadly accessible as possible to those with a background in the physical sciences or engineering. No familiarity with thermoelectric theory or technology is assumed, but an introductory level understanding of solid-state physics is necessary (e.g. energy bands, density-of-states, Fermi functions, doping etc.). A basic familiarity with topics usually covered in a two-semester college course in introductory physics is assumed. Selected topics from upper-division undergraduate courses in electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics, and quantum mechanics will be reviewed as required. A working knowledge of both integral and differential calculus is assumed. Pointers to web-based lectures that cover background topics will be provided.

Course Outline

Preview the lectures below, or join the course by clicking the yellow button on the right and entering your nanoHUB login information!

Week 1: Bottom Up Approach by Supriyo Datta

Week 2: Thermoelectric Transport Parameters by Mark Lundstrom

Week 3: Nanoscale and Macroscale Characterization by Ali Shakouri

Week 4: Thermoelectric Systems by Ali Shakouri

Week 5: Recent Advances in Thermoelectric Materials and Physics by Ali Shakouri

Course Resources

  • A nanoHUB.org account is required to perform the simulation exercises. Sign up for free now!
  • Prerecorded video lectures distilling the essential concepts of thermoelectricity into a concise, five-week module.
  • Homework exercises with solutions and homework tutorials.
  • Online quizzes to quickly assess understanding of material after each video lecture.
  • An online forum, hosted by nanoHUB and monitored by the professors. Students enrolled in the course will be able to interact with one another.
  • Exams for each weekly module. Once a student starts a test, the student will have two hours to complete it. The tests are scored instantly.

Registration

This self-paced course is available at no cost to anyone with a nanoHUB.org account.

nanoHUB-U is powered by nanoHUB.org, the home for computational nanoscience and nanotechnology research, education, and collaboration.

nanoHUB.org, a resource for nanoscience and nanotechnology, is supported by the National Science Foundation and other funding agencies. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.