(ORDO NEWS) — Nanofilms based on manganese silicide, developed by UNN physicists, convert heat into electricity. Unlike semiconductor analogues, generators are capable of operating in space.
Thermoelectric converters are widely used to generate electricity from the thermal energy of heated machine parts.
The special crystal structure of the manganese-silicon compound makes them one of the most promising materials for generating electricity.
The thickness of the nanofilms obtained by the physicists of the Lobachevsky University does not exceed 100 nanometers, and the weight is less than millionths of a gram.
Such films can be embedded in the skin of spacecraft, reducing the weight and energy consumption of equipment operating in space, scientists say.
Also, thin-film converters can be used in everyday life: for charging gadgets from body heat or in thermoelectric clothing with a conditioning function.
“A film with a complex crystal structure is formed when manganese and silicon are combined in a vacuum. Pulsed laser deposition first sputters a silicon and then a manganese target.
We solved the problem of instability of the thermoelectric properties of the material by means of electropulse plasma sintering of a powder mixture of two metals.
This increased the homogeneity of the structures of both the target and the film that is obtained during its sputtering, we obtained more stable samples of thermoelements of different thicknesses ,” said Mikhail Dorokhin, Leading Researcher at the Laboratory of Spin and Optical Electronics at the NIFTI UNN.
We add that the development of Nizhny Novgorod scientists can work in an extended temperature range (30-800 degrees Celsius) with a strong radiation background and with less energy loss than semiconductor counterparts.
The development was patented in May 2022. The scientists of NIFTI UNN plan to further increase the efficiency of electricity generation by combining films with layers of other thermoelectric nanomaterials.
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