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One Step Closer to New Kind of Thermoelectric 'Heat Engine

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posted on Jul, 11 2012 @ 01:10 PM
All of you magnet loving, energy device innovators are surely going to love this one...

One Step Closer to New Kind of Thermoelectric 'Heat Engine

ScienceDaily (July 11, 2012) — Researchers who are studying a new magnetic effect that converts heat to electricity have discovered how to amplify it a thousand times over -- a first step in making the technology more practical.

I'm running low on time, and am taking off shortly to make a road trip back to work... So I apologize for not making the OP all that great. The article and ATS members can help improve this one, I just thought this deserves some attention.

In the so-called spin Seebeck effect, the spin of electrons creates a current in magnetic materials, which is detected as a voltage in an adjacent metal. Ohio State University researchers have figured out how to create a similar effect in a non-magnetic semiconductor while producing more electrical power.

They've named the amplified effect the "giant spin-Seebeck" effect, and the university will license patent-pending variations of the technology.

The resulting voltages are admittedly tiny, but in this week's issue of the journal Nature, the researchers report boosting the amount of voltage produced per degree of temperature change inside the semiconductor from a few microvolts to a few millivolts -- a 1,000-fold increase in voltage, producing a 1-million-fold increase in power.

Great progress has been made in understanding how the spin-Seebeck effect works, but many details are still a mystery. Though researchers around the world have been able to reproduce the spin-Seebeck effect with some success since it was discovered at Tohoku University in 2008, a unified theory is lacking. And the same holds true for the giant spin-Seebeck effect, though the Ohio State researchers have several suggestions as to what's going on.

People may be familiar with the concept of light being made of particles called photons, Heremans said. Heat, too, can be thought of the same way, and scientists have a similar-sounding name for heat particles: phonons.

The researchers think that they were able to induce a powerful stream of phonons inside the semiconductor. The phonons then smashed into the electrons and knocked them forward, while the atoms in the semiconductor made the electrons spin as they streamed through the material -- like a bullet spinning in a rifle barrel.

Roberto Myers, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, said that the key to making the experiment work was the choice of materials.

Did the future just get a little brighter, cooler, or hotter lol!

'I report, you decide'

Granted there are many obstacles to be addressed, comprehensions to be understood... but, we're one step closer to awesomeness!

Edit: Not to completely mislead people:

Since the material was non-magnetic, they needed to create a magnetic field around it and lower the temperature to polarize the electrons.

edit on 11-7-2012 by FractalChaos13242017 because: additional statement


Heremans and his team are exploring other materials -- magnetic and otherwise -- to push the effect further.

edit on 11-7-2012 by FractalChaos13242017 because: additional statement

Interestingly enough, I earlier made the statement:

I've always toyed with the idea of form of cryogenic container around a highly ionized hydrogen plasma that may be a new form of battery. Although, that barely scratches the surface on how it would work. Pure fantasy maybe...

Hmm... I will address this later, and how it may actually work with this technology!!!
edit on 11-7-2012 by FractalChaos13242017 because: additional statement

posted on Jul, 11 2012 @ 01:54 PM
This is amazingly cool....we;ll have to see if it amounts to anything though. Lots of times lab technologies don't transfer over to the real world well.

posted on Jul, 12 2012 @ 11:38 PM
reply to post by roguetechie

First, please do not link this to free energy, please. There is so little information given it's hard to know where to begin with questions, I do not see this as a way of generating real amounts of energy though.

posted on Jul, 17 2012 @ 07:35 AM
Interesting indeed, hope this is scalable toeven larger formats.

Thanks for the info!

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