Hard-boiled Electrons: Using Thermionic Emission for Solar Electricity Generation
Speaker: Igor Bargatin, Stanford University
Series: Other Events
Location: J223 Equad
Date/Time: Thursday, March 15, 2012, 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
We are building MEMS-based prototypes of new types of heat-to-electricity and solar-to-electricity energy converters. The first type of the device converts very high-temperature heat (>1000 C) to electricity using evaporation of electrons from solid surfaces (thermionic effect). The second type of the device simultaneously transforms solar light and heat into electricity and is based on the recently demonstrated effect of photon-enhanced thermionic emission (PETE). Both types of converters may be used to dramatically improve the efficiency of future solar thermal power plants. I will describe the principle of operation, initial experiments, and maximum theoretical efficiency of both types of these MEMS devices.
Dr. Igor Bargatin is currently a research associate in the group of Prof. Roger T. Howe (Department of Electrical Engineering, Stanford University). A native of western Siberia, he received an undergraduate degree in theoretical physics from Moscow State University.
Subsequently, Dr. Bargatin was a graduate student in the group of Prof. Michael L. Roukes at Caltech, where he became an experimentalist and studied sensor applications of high-frequency nanomechanical resonators, graduating with a Ph.D. in Physics and a minor in EE. In the summer of 2008, he was a visiting scientist at CEA/LETI in Grenoble, France, where he developed new types of gas sensors.