PhD Defense: "Modeling and Characterization of Materials for Thermoelectric Applications"

Ashok T. Ramu

December 6th (Monday), 3:00pm
Engineering Science Building (ESB), Rm 2001

The field of thermoelectricity has seen a resurgence of interest of late in the quest for an efficient, compact, renewable energy source. It is important to compute accurately the Seebeck coefficient and mobility of typical n- and p- type thermoelectric materials like InGaAs and InGaSb, and to benchmark the computations against experimental data. To that end, we formulate the Boltzmann Transport Equation (BTE) for the low-field transport problem as an integral equation, and solve it by numerical iteration. We present an algorithm for extracting the Seebeck coefficient from the solution to the BTE. This procedure helps us calculate transport coefficients without the need for common simplifying assumptions like the relaxation time approximation or the neglect of inter-band scattering in p- type materials. Doping InGaAs and InGaSb with rare earth elements like Erbium beyond the solid solubility limit is expected to increase the thermoelectric power factor and the Z figure of merit. We critically examine the effectiveness of doping with various rare-earth elements by comparing with appropriate controls.

About Ashok T. Ramu:

Ashok Ramu is a Ph.D. candidate in Electrical Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara He received his B. Tech. from IIT Madras, India in 2005 and his M.S. from UCSB in 2007, both in Electrical Engineering.

Hosted by: Professor John E. Bowers