Case 13666

Nano-scale thermal conduits for creating high power thermoelectric waves from stored chemical energy


Carbon nanotubes, thermal conductivity, thermal wave propagation, nano-wire, chemical energy, waveguide, trinitramine, stored energy, electromagnetic pulse


Electromagnetic pulse for intermittent but high load operations (such as emission of a modulated RF signal), thermopower wave propagation, energy storage, thermally-triggered electromagnetic pulse.

  • Environmental energy scavenging can regenerate storage devices, but maximum power remains insufficient for RF communications over practical distances
  • Need to develop new types of power sources that provide not energy density but peak power density for intermittent but high load operations, such as emission of a modulated RF signal or powering a fuse.


This invention describes the generation of a high power electrical pulse from sub-mm3 devices. A carbon nano-tube, a high aspect-ratio molecule with a large phonon thermal conductivity, is used to launch a thermopower wave along its length, which provides a useable power pulse from a sub-micron scale component. The invention is implemented with an annular coating of a reactive, high energy chemical around a carbon nano-tube or nano-wire, or by depositing a thin layer on a graphene sheet. Upon decomposition of the energetic chemical, its heat of reaction funnels into the thermal conduit where the thermal wave propagates much faster than the bulk reaction. The directed wave pushes an accompanying electron wave that generates sizeable thermopower for a device of its size.


    Demonstration of the first application of carbon nano-tubes (CNTs) as thermal conduits to generate 1-D energy release with fast reaction velocity and a thermoelectric wave.

  • Professor Michael Strano (Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT)
  • Joel Abrahamson (Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT)
  • WonJoon Choi (Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT)
  • Jae-Hee Han (Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT)

Intellectual Property:

U.S. Patent Application Number 13/453780, filed on April 23, 2012

PCT Patent Application Number PCT/US2010/053798, filed on October 22, 2010



Last revised: April 30, 2013

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