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Nanowire polymer hybrid array for thermo-electric applications

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000235725D
Publication Date: 2014-Mar-24
Document File: 2 page(s) / 30K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

A method to form arrays of nanowire-polymer hybrid-cells and wiring them for thermo-electric applications such as thermo-electric generators, thermo-electric cooler or thermal sensor array. The hybrid cells comprise an nanowire core (n-type) and a conductive polymer shell (p-type). A method is described based on patterning of the substrate into lines and columns, growth of the nanowires and patterning of the conductive polymer. No critical process steps on the level of the nanowire bottom are required after the nanowiregrowth. The hybrid cells can be wired in series, in parallel or addressed individually. Low-cost techniques such as ink-jet printing can be used to pattern the polymer. Each thermo-electric cell typically consists of a multitude of individual nanowires connected in parallel in order to deliver a higher current and to avoid large fluctuations of single cell characteristics due to limited processing yield. When used as a temperature sensor array, the crosspoint design offers high lateral resolution and low thermal conductivity (loss). When used as thermo-electric generator or cooler, the design allows a large number of cells connected in series on a small area resulting in a large voltage per area. Starting point is a substrate. The role of the substrate is to provide mechanical fixation, act as a thermal contact / heat spreader, and may provide mechanical and chemical properties suitable for the given application. A typical substrate is a silicon wafer or a metal plate.

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Nanowire polymer hybrid array for thermo -electric applications

    Semiconducting nanowires (NWs) and conducting polymers (CP) are promising materials for thermo-electric (TE) applications such as generators (TEG), coolers (TEC) and temperature and heat flow sensors. The NW geometry suggests to form arrays of NWs to cover a large area. Typically, two legs consisting of an n-type and a p-type semiconductor are connected in series to form a TE cell. In order to increase the output voltage, several cells are connected in series electrically and in parallel thermally.

    The present disclosure suggests a method to form arrays of hybrid NW-CP thermoelectric cells and wiring for TE applications such as TEG, TEC and sensor arrays. The hybrid cells comprise an n-type NW core and a p-type CP shell. The method describes the patterning of the substrate into lines and columns, growth of the NWs and patterning of the CP. No critical process steps on the level of the NW bottom are required after the NW growth. Hybrid NW-CP TE cells can be wired in series, in parallel or individually. Low-cost techniques such as ink-jet printing can be

used. Each TE cell typically consists of a multitude of individual NWs connected in parallel in order to deliver a higher current and to avoid large fluctuations of single cell characteristics due to limited processing yield. As a temperature sensor array, the cross-point design offers high lateral resolution and low thermal conductivity (loss). As TEG or TEC, the design allows a large number of cells connected in series on a small area (large voltage per area).

    Starting point is a substrate. The role of the substrate is to provide mechanical fixation, act as a thermal contact / heat spreader, and may provide mechanical and chemical properties suitable for the given application....