Energy Harvesting & Conversion

The study of electronics and photonics play a central role for energy harvesting and conversion. For example, the harvesting of solar energy requires significant advance in both electronics and photonics. In addition, the majority of electronics today are fundamentally limited by the energy they consume. Conversely, the availability of more varied energy sources would enable functionality and ubiquity of electronics not yet possible today. Even when power is readily available, some electronics must obey very strict thermal requirements, such as those that come in contact with the human body. Examples include:

  • Thermoelectric nanomaterials for thermal energy harvesting;
  • Fundamental research into the nanoscale physics of electron-phonon energy interaction;
  • Heat-sensitive electronics and their interaction with strict temperature environments such as car engines, the human body, or extraterrestrial applications;
  • Energy harvesting from vibrations (piezoelectrics), thermo-acoustic energy conversion, and chemical reactions;
  • Renewable energy research including photovoltaics, thermophotovoltaics and radiative cooling.