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Nanoscale Heat Transfer for Efficient Energy Utilization

Nanostructures provide opportunities to engineer the transport of energy carriers. In this talk, I will give a few examples to show how we can engineer materials to have different properties. One example is thermoelectric energy conversion, which calls for material with high a low thermal conductivity, a high electrical conductivity and Seebeck coefficient. High interface density in nanocomposites can be engineered to give desirable phonon and electron transport properties, leading to significant improvements in thermoelectric properties. In the opposite limit, the thermal conductivity of polymers is usually low. We will show that individual polymer chains, however, can have very high thermal conductivity, and polymers can be engineered to possess high thermal conductivity. Finally, although Planck’s blackbody radiation law is usually considered the upper limit of thermal radiation from any objects, we have demonstrated experimentally that in the near field, thermal radiation can be orders of magnitude higher than predictions by the Planck law. Applications of these nanoscale heat transfer phenomena discussed for efficient energy utilization will be discussed. I will conclude by introducing our newly established DOE Solid-State Solar-Thermal Energy Conversion Center (S3TEC Center)

Type of Seminar:
Public Seminar
Prof. Gang Chen
Carl Richard Soderberg Professor of Power Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Jul 24, 2009   15.15

ETH Zentrum, Gloriastr. 37-39 , VAW B1
Contact Person:

Prof. M. Morari
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Biographical Sketch:
Dr. Gang Chen is currently the Carl Richard Soderberg Professor of Power Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He obtained his Ph.D. degree from UC Berkeley in 1993. He was an assistant professor at Duke University from 1993-1997, and associate professor at University of California at Los Angeles from 1997-2000, and moved to MIT in 2000. He is a recipient of the NSF Young Investigator Award, a Guggenheim Fellow, the ASME Heat Transfer Memorial Award, and the R&D 100 Award. He has published extensively in the area of nanoscale energy transport and conversion and nanoscale heat transfer. He serves on the editorial boards for four journals in heat transfer and nanotechnology, chairs the advisory board of ASME Nanotechnology Institute, and is the director of newly established US Department of Energy S3TEC Center.