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Micro thermoelectric energy conversion [CNST-IIT]

Thermoelectric generation is a solid state technology for the conversion of thermal energy into electrical energy. The applications of this technology span from space missions to microelectronics, passing through the automotive and the industrial sector. Thermoelectric generation is based on the Seebeck effect: when a (thermo)couple of p- and n-type materials are connected electrically in series and thermally in parallel, and are subjected to a temperature difference, hot charge carriers diffuse towards the cold side, giving rise to an electrical current.
Flexible thermoelectric generators are nowadays investigate to answer the need of delocalized, portable and renewable energy sources for applications in the wearable and industrial sectors. In this framework, conducting polymers are promising thermoelectric materials due to their capabilities to preserve electrical characteristics under mechanical stresses and deformations. The student will work on the fabrication of innovative flexible thermoelectric generators based on organic materials, processed from solutions by means of printing techniques, for applications in the field of the Internet of Things. She/he will be part of the Printed and Molecular Electronics group, headed by Dr. Mario Caironi, at Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Center for Nano Science and Technology. She/he will work in a multidisciplinary environment, in a group with large experience in the fabrication and processing of organic materials.
She/he has concluded, or is approaching the conclusion of, the master course, with excellent proven grades. She/he has strong interest in energetic issues and is willing to learn thermoelectrics. She/he has knowledge of thermodynamics and/or solid state physics and/or polymer science. She/he is a proactive person with both good practical and theoretical skills.