Nanoengineering Group at MIT
Our research is focused on nanoscale energy transport, conversion, and storage. Examples include development of nanostructured thermoelectric materials for direct conversion between thermal and electric energy, use of nanotechnology to advance solar thermal and solar photovoltaic devices, fundamental investigation of phonon transport. Our work is interdisciplinary and combines mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, physics, and materials science. Two areas of our research relate to energy harvesting for sensor applications: thermoelectrics and light trapping for photovoltaics
Our thermoelectric materials employ a nanocomposite approach to increase ZT by reducing the thermal conductivity. Thermoelectric nanocomposites offer several advantages such as improved properties through nanostructuring and ease of manufacture. Our research involves fabricating and characterizing the materials with our collaborators at Boston College, as well as demonstrating practical applications for power generation.
We recently designed structures that trap light efficiently. According to calculations, Si films of just 1-3 microns thickness should work as well as 100-300 micron Si wafers when our structures are used. We are pursuing this possibility in experiment by fabricating the structures. We will measure light absorption and photovoltaic efficiency for those structures.
If you join us on the tour we would be happy to show you the equipment and methods we use to studying nanoscale energy transport.
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