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Baumgart Is PI for Air Force Grant Involving Next Generation of Thermoelectric Devices

Helmut Baumgart, professor of electrical and computer engineering and the Virginia Microelectronics Consortium endowed chair at Old Dominion's Applied Research Center in Newport News, is principal investigator on a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Air Force for his work on the next generation of thermoelectric devices.

On the grant, Baumgart is working with MicroXact Inc., a semiconductor and micro-electrical-mechanical systems (MEMS) design and manufacturing company whose customer base includes university laboratories and Fortune 500 companies.

Baumgart's share of the grant is $250,000. Under the project, an ODU research team will develop a revolutionary, ultra-efficient thermoelectric material - integrating a structure known as a quantum well "superlattice" into the three-dimensional surface of a porous silicon substrate - in an effort to create thermoelectric devices that are up to 20 percent more energy efficient.

The material, created from lead chalcogenide nanolaminates (composed of lead telluride, lead selenide and a combination of the two compounds) and based on completely new, nonconventional fabrication principles, will result in three-dimensional superlattice layers on the porous silicon substrates. These three-dimensional layers will be fabricated through depositing alternating superlattice layers of lead telluride and lead selenide, a process known as atomic layer deposition.

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Published on: April 1, 2013