Nanolaminated Thin Films for Thermoelectrics
Energy harvesting is an interesting topic for today since we face running out of energy source, a serious problem in the world. Thermoelectric devices are a good candidate. They can convert heat (i.e. temperature gradient) to electricity. This result leads us to use them to harvest waste heat from engines or in power plants to generate electricity. Moreover, thermoelectric devices also perform cooling by applied voltage to device. This process is clean, which means that no greenhouse gases are emitted during the process. However, the converting efficiency of thermoelectrics are very low compare to a home refrigerator. The thermoelectric figure of merit (ZTm) is a number which defines the converting efficiency of thermoelectric materials and devices. ZTm is defined by Seebeck coefficient, electrical conductivity and thermal conductivity. To improve the converting efficiency, nanolaminated materials are good candidate.
This thesis studies TiN/ScN artificial nanolaminates, or superlattices were grown by reactive dc magnetron sputtering from Ti and Sc targets. For TiN/ScN superlattice, X-ray diffraction (XRD) and reciprocal space map (RSM) show that we can obtain single crystal TiN/ScN superlattice. X-ray reflectivity (XRR) shows the superlattice films have a rough surface, supported by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Also, TiN/ScN superlattices grew by TiN as starting layer has better crystalline quality than ScN as starting layer. The electrical measurement shows that our superlattice films are conductive films.
Ca-Co-O system for inherently nanolaminated materials were grown by reactive rf magnetron sputtering from Ca/Co alloy target. The XRD shows we maybe get the [Ca2CoO3]xCoO2 phase, so far. The energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) reported that our films have Al conmination. We also discovered unexpected behavior when the film grown at high temperature showed larger thickness instead of thinner, which would have been expected due to possible Ca evaporation. The Ca-Co-O system requires further studies.
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