Case 7661

Superlattice Structures For use In Thermoelectric Devices


Superlattice, thermoelectric, power generation


Superlattice structures used in thermoelectric materials.


Current thermoelectric power generation technology has limited efficiency.


This invention proposes a superlattice structure for thermoelectric power generation that includes m monolayers of a first barrier material alternating with n monolayers of a second quantum well material with a pair of monolayers defining a superlattice period and each of the materials having a relatively smooth interface. Each of the quantum well layers have a thickness which is less than the thickness of the barrier layer by an amount which causes substantial confinement of conduction carriers to the quantum well layer and the alternating layers provide a superlattice structure having a figure of merit which increases with increasing temperature.


The combined enhancements of the Seebeck coefficient and mobility resulted in an increase in the 300 K ZT of PbTe from .about.0.45 for bulk material to greater than 1.2 in quantum wells.

  • Professor Mildred Dresselhaus (Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, MIT)
  • Theodore Harman (Lincoln Laboratory)
  • David Spears (Lincoln Laboratory)
  • Micheal Walsh (Lincoln Laboratory)
  • Stephen Cronin (MIT postdoctoral fellow)
  • Xiangzhong Sun (Lucent Technologies)
  • Takaaki Koga (Harvard University)

Intellectual Property:

US Patent 6452206 issued on 9/17/2002



Last revised: August 31, 2011

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