By David Lee Rickman II
What happens when you smash bismuth antimony telluride into billions of smaller pieces? The EE Times reports
that you solve a problem that has baffled engineers for around 50 years.
By crushing the semiconductor and reconstituting it in a bulk form with nanoscale constituents, a team from MIT and Boston College can conduct electricity without conducting so much heat, hence boosting thermoelectric efficiency.
This inexpensive nanostructure synthesis method can lead to
cleaner, more efficient refrigerators, solar power plants and almost
any other device that relies on the direct conversion of temperature
differences to electric voltage and back again.
grains of the conducting material means more resistance to the heat
flow. By scattering and redirect the heat, the new nanotech compound
can be used either for cooling or generating electricity.