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Advanced control over heat particles and thermal energy is one of the most important scientific challenges for the 21st century. About two-thirds of all primary energy consumed (such as from fossil fuels) is underutilised, with much of it lost as waste heat.
The capacity to directly convert waste heat to electricity provides a significant incentive to find viable thermoelectric (TE) materials, and to develop advanced thermal management technologies to reduce waste. One difficulty in achieving high TE conversion efficiency has been the competing requirements in physical properties – optimally desirable would be a material with a large Seebeck coefficient like an insulator, but with high electrical conductivity like a metal, and low thermal conductivity.
Professor Mori will present a range of research strategies to address these paradoxes. These include using novel crystal structures, and nanostructuring methods to achieve decoupling of the electronic and thermal transports (for example, selective scattering of phonons using nano-microporous, rare earth-free skutterudites). Prof. Mori will also discuss the potential of magnetic and carrier-magnon interactions as a way to enhance Seebeck coefficients and the overall TE power factor. In addition, Prof. Mori will examine the development of heat-dissipative and thermal insulation materials, and present information on research to use picosecond thermoreflectance and TEM to characterise thermal properties on the nanoscale.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Professor Takao Mori, National Institute for Materials Science in Japan
Takao Mori received his PhD from the University of Tokyo in 1996. He is a MANA Principal Investigator and Group Leader at the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan, and a Professor of the University of Tsukuba Graduate School. He is also an elected Board Member of the International Thermoelectric Society and President of the Asian Association of Thermoelectrics. Professor Mori is an editorial board member for several publications, and a Research Director of JST CREST. His awards include a Minister of Science and Technology Agency Award in 2000 and a nanotech 2016 Grand Award.
Professor Mori has published more than 210 journal papers and 17 book chapters, and holds 23 patents (17 awarded and 6 pending). As Director of the Tsukuba Innovation Arena Thermal Energy Conversion Lab, he attracted US$2.2 million in research funding over a five-year period on the basic research topic of thermal energy control. His current research interests include synthesis and properties development of inorganic thermoelectric materials; discovery of thermoelectric enhancement principles and phonon engineering methods to control thermal energy; and the development of methods to evaluate thermal properties on the nanoscale.