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Clean Energy Institute Seminar: Mercouri Kanatzidis, Northwestern University
WhenThursday, May 11, 2017, 4 – 5 p.m.
Campus roomJohnson 075
Event typesLectures/Seminars

Energy from waste heat: how the thermoelectric materials are designed and used
Recent advancements in thermoelectric materials involving nanostructuring semiconductors have create large excitement and highlighted the technology's potential for energy efficiency and heat management on a commercial scale.  Nanostructuring is the process of embedding suitable second phase, in nanocrystalline form, inside a thermoelectric material. This process dramatically lowers the thermal conductivity of the composite and greatly enhances the conversion efficiency.  Waste-heat recovery with thermoelectric power generators can improve energy efficiency and provide distributed electricity generation. Energy-intensive industries, such as cement making, glass making, coal-fired power plants and metals production, generate enormous amounts of heat, and most of this heat is lost into the environment through smoke stacks and other means. Thermoelectric devices are very attractive because they convert thermal energy into electricity without requiring moving components. Current research in high performance thermoelectric materials involves nanostructuring, mesostructuring, band alignment, band engineering and other concepts. These are synergistic strategies for boosting the thermoelectric performance. To date, the dramatic enhancements in figure of merit achieved in bulk thermoelectric materials come either from the reduction in lattice thermal conductivity or improvement in power factors, or both. We will review the relationships between a) very large reduction of lattice thermal conductivity and all-scale hierarchical architecturing, b) enhanced Seebeck coefficients and intra-matrix electronic structure engineering and control of the carrier mobility with matrix/inclusion band alignment. The talk will give particular emphasis on the systems PbTe, PbSe, PbS and SnSe in which spectacular advances have been demonstrated.

Mercouri Kanatzidis was born in Thessaloniki, Greece in 1957. After obtaining a B. Sc from Aristotle University in Greece, he received his Ph D. in chemistry from the University of Iowa in 1984. He was a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Michigan and Northwestern University from 1985 to 1987 and is currently Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University. Mercouri moved to Northwestern in the fall of 2006 from Michigan State University where he was a University Distinguished Professor of Chemistry since 1987.

His research areas include: Inorganic chemistry, solid state and coordination chemistry of chalcogenide compounds. Design of new materials, exploratory synthesis, thermoelectric materials, nanostructured materials, intermetallics, mesoporous semiconductors, phase-change materials, conducting polymers, intercalation chemistry applications of new materials. He is the recipient of many honors and awards, including: Presidential Young Investigator Award. National Science Foundation, 1989-1994; ACS Inorganic Chemistry Division Award: EXXON Faculty Fellowship in Solid State Chemistry, 1990; Beckman Young Investigator, 1992-1994; Alfred P. Sloan Fellow 1991-1993; Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher Scholar 1993-1998; Michigan State University Distinguished Faculty Award 1998; Sigma Xi 2000 Senior Meritorious Faculty Award; University Distinguished Professor MSU 2001; John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellow 2002;  Alexander von Humboldt Prize, 2003; Morley Medal, American Chemical Society, Cleveland Section, 2003; Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor, Northwestern University 2006; MRS Fellow 2010; Royal Chemical Society DeGennes Prize 2015; Elected Fellow of the Royal Chemical Society 2015; the ENI Award for the "Renewable Energy Prize" category; the ACS Award in Inorganic Chemistry 2016; and the American Physical Society 2016 James C. McGroddy Prize for New Materials.

He has over 950 papers (h-Index=92), 38,000 citations, and 22 patents to his merit.

Professor Mercouri also holds an appointment at Argonne National Laboratory and is the editor in chief of the Journal of Solid State Chemistry.

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