New Technology for Microfabrication and Testing of a Thermoelectric Device for Generating Mobile Electrical Power

Report No. ARL-TR-4480
Authors: Patrick J. Taylor, Nibir K. Dhar, Brian Morgan, and Bruce Geil
Date/Pages: June 2008; 18 pages
Abstract: We report the results of the fabrication and testing of a thermoelectric power generation module. The module was fabricated using a new “flip-chip” module assembly technique that is scalable, modular, and results in a low value of contact resistivity (≤ 105 Ω-cm2 ). It can be used to leverage new advances in thin-film and nanostructured materials for the fabrication of new miniature thermoelectric devices. It may also enable monolithic integration of large devices or tandem arrays of devices on flexible or curved surfaces. Under mild testing, a power of 22 mW/cm2 was obtained from small (<100 K) temperature differences. At higher, more realistic temperature differences, ~500 K, where the efficiency of these materials greatly improves, this power density would scale to between 0.5 and 1 W/cm2. These results highlight the excellent potential for the generation and scavenging of electrical power of practical and usable magnitude for remote military applications using thermoelectric power generation technologies.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: June 1, 2008