Development of Thermoelectric Generators on Flexible Substrates for Wearable Systems [Phase I]

Project: Research

Project Details


Thermoelectric generators (TEG) have emerged as an important renewable power source, with enormous potential to take advantage of the widely-abundant and normally-wasted thermal energy. It is noteworthy that recent advancements in thermoelectric (TE) materials have allowed a gradual improvement in the performance and feasibility of TEGs. On the other hand, the constantly increasing demand for portable personalized healthcare devices has driven the development of wearable and implantable electronic systems. However, their high sampling rates can result in high-energy consumption that limits the battery lifetime. Considering this, mechanically flexible thermoelectric generators can provide a method to increase the power production capabilities of wearable and implantable electronics. The first phase of this project consists of the measurement of fundamental electrical, mechanical, and thermal properties of TE thin films deposited on flexible polymeric substrates. Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD) will be used to deposit an already optimized n- and p-type Bi2Te3 thin film under different temperature conditions to analyze the films quality on the polymeric surface. PI and PET were selected as flexible substrates due to their availability, advantageous mechanical properties and simpler integration of electric interconnects that enables a cost-effective manufacturing process. Additionally, multiphysics simulations will be carried out to complement our study by analyzing the materials behavior under diverse mechanical conditions. Although, there has been already some work on flexible TEGs, this project aims to lay the foundation for the future development (Phase II) of a TEG with a novel design and simplified, cost-effective fabrication process. The design will consist of the use of Origami/Kirigami techniques to enable the innovative implementation of 3D structures from 2D platforms. To sum up, the proposed study will enable the future development of a novel, flexible, alternative power supply for wearable technologies and portable, autonomous microelectronic systems in general. This may lead to varied commercial products, which contributes to the diversification of the local economy
Effective start/end date15/07/2131/12/22


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