Title page for ETD etd-12142010-085754

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Osborne, Daniel Josiah
Author's Email Address osbordvt@vt.edu
URN etd-12142010-085754
Title A Nanoengineering Approach to Oxide Thermoelectrics For Energy Harvesting Applications
Degree Master of Science
Department Materials Science and Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Abiade, Jeremiah T. Committee Chair
Heremans, Jean J. Committee Member
Huxtable, Scott T. Committee Member
  • thermal conductivity
  • oxide thin film
  • thermoelectric
  • phonon scattering
  • metal nanoparticle
Date of Defense 2010-12-03
Availability unrestricted
The ability of uniquely functional thermoelectric materials to convert waste heat directly into electricity is critical considering the global energy economy. Profitable, energy-efficient thermoelectrics possess thermoelectric figures of merit ZT ≥ 1. We examined the effect of metal nanoparticle – oxide film interfaces on the thermal conductivity κ and Seebeck coefficient α in bilayer and multilayer thin film oxide thermoelectrics in an effort to improve the dimensionless figure of merit ZT. Since a thermoelectric’s figure of merit ZT is inversely proportional to κ and directly proportional to α, reducing κ and increasing α are key strategies to optimize ZT.

We aim to reduce κ by phonon scattering due to the inclusion of metal nanoparticles in the bulk of thermoelectric thin films deposited by Pulsed Laser Deposition. XRD, AFM, XPS, and TEM analyses were carried out for structural and compositional characterization. The electrical conductivities of the samples were measured by a four-point probe apparatus. The Seebeck coefficients were measured in-plane, varying the temperature from 100K to 310K. The thermal conductivities were measured at room temperature using Time Domain Thermoreflectance.

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