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Characterization of New Thermoelectric Materials for Waste Heat Recovery




2: Mechanical Engineering

Faculty Supervisor:

Gang Chen

Faculty email:


Apply by:



Aaron Schmidt: aarons@mit.edu

Project Description

A large portion of the energy obtained from fuels for typical heat engines used in power generation and automobiles is expelled to the environment in the form of waste heat. Thermoelectric materials, which enable the direct conversion of heat energy to useful electrical power, provide a means of capturing a significant portion of this lost energy, with considerable benefits to fuel economy and carbon footprint. We are seeking a UROP to characterize the thermal and electrical transport properties of a new class of thermoelectric materials for waste heat recovery applications. The primary objective for the UROP student will be the measurement of electrical resistivities and Seebeck coefficients (a measure of the voltage induced by a temperature gradient) in microscale samples of various semiconductor materials. The UROP will gain considerable experience with micro-Raman spectroscopy, sensitive electrical measurements, and data analysis. The UROP may also participate in the analysis of thermal transport in these materials using frequency-domain thermoreflectance, a cutting-edge optical characterization technique. Opportunities may also arise for a UROP to participate in nanofabrication of test devices. The UROP may participate in this project either for pay or for credit, and we are seeking a candidate able to contribute 10-20 hours/week from the spring semester through November 2020.


We are looking for a student with experience in materials science, mechanical engineering, and/or electrical engineering. Some familiarity with electrical measurements, Raman spectroscopy, and the use of Matlab and LabVIEW is preferred.