Feeling the Heat: Berkeley Researchers Make Thermoelectric Breakthrough in Silicon Nanowires

Photo of Renkun Chen, Arun Majumdar, Peidong Yang and Allon Hochbaum
January 2008

Energy now lost as heat during the production of electricity could be harnessed through the use of silicon nanowires synthesized via a technique developed by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC) at Berkeley. The far-ranging potential applications of this technology include DOE's hydrogen fuel cell-powered "Freedom CAR," and personal power-jackets that could use heat from the human body to recharge cell-phones and other electronic devices.