NanoTech for Thermocouples or Bad Science Daily

If you\’ve read my posts from Bar Camp Atl 2009, you may remember that one of my presentations was on Peltier Effect Thermoelectric devices. Today on reddit there was a science daily release that seems to have failed to mention peltiers but is moving toward my nanotech goal for them.


The name that this article uses for the typical bi-couple connectors (typically bismuth-telluride P-N couples) is ferroelectric nanowires – and here is how they work.

Using tiny structures called ferroelectric nanowires, they can rapidly generate an electrical current in response to any change in the ambient temperature, harvesting otherwise wasted energy from thermal fluctuations.

The thing is though, that on a physics level, this is very much the same idea of the Peltier effect with what seems like marketing speak.

On the more optimistic side: using nanonwires to capture the vibrations caused by temperature fluctuations (aka ΔT) will allow for a lot more surface area to collect these vibrations.

But I\’m going to offer some resistance (Ω) because that is already the problem with generating electricity through the vibrations that heat causes… and that is using two different metals with sizable conductivity on a 100mm pad. As you make the wires smaller (nano) and more dissimilar, you\’re naturally going to increase resistance.