Ashutosh Tiwari, associate professor of materials science and engineering at the U, led research in fabricating spintronics-based thin film devices that convert minute waste heat into useful electricity. The devices hold promise for efficient electronics that recycle their waste heat into electricity says Tiwari, IRG2 director for Organic Spintronics at the University’s Materials Research, Science, and Engineering Center (MRSEC).

The researchers’ findings were published online Friday, March 21 in the Nature publishing group’s journal “Scientific Reports.”

According to Tiwari, who leads the U’s Nanostructured Materials Research Laboratory, the severity of heat generation increases as electronics become nano-sized. Unlike previous devices, the new spintronic thermoelectric devices operate at room temperature without the continuous application of external magnetic fields to remain magnetized.

Spintronics is a new branch of electronics that utilize both the charge and spin of electrons.

Among the study’s most important aspects is that the devices are made from non-traditional thermoelectric materials. This enables them to achieve the heat-to-electricity efficiencies needed for practical applications because the electrical conductivity is maximized while thermal conductivity is minimized.

The study was conducted with U engineering graduate students Gene Siegel, Megan Campbell Prestgard, and Shiang Teng. Funding was provided by the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Condensed Matter Physics Program, Sensors and Sensing Systems Program, and MRSEC.

Read study in “Scientific Reports”

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