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Professor Peidong Yang led the University of California, Berkley team who discovered silicon nanowire's thermoelectric properties.  (Source: University of California, Berkley)

A scanning electron microscope image of a thin silicon nanowire stretching between two heating pads, one as a heat source, the other as a sensor.  (Source: A. Hochbaum)
Silicon heat capture could allow cheap refrigeration and energy saving

Among the many valuable properties of silicon is its ability to capture solar energy to create electricity via its photoelectric character.  Now scientists are discovering that silicon, when properly prepared, can form a very good thermoelectric as well.  This opens the door to a plethora of uses, including refrigeration, solar heat power generation, and power generation from other heat sources, such as computer waste heat or car heat.

A thermoelectric device has two  basic modes of operation.  When a thermoelectric is placed over a heat gradient, it generates an electric current.  The other mode is the reverse; when a thermoelectric is exposed to an electric current, it creates a heat difference, cooling one side of it, and warming the other side.  Thus thermoelectrics are applicable to power generation, refrigeration and heating.

Traditional thermoelectrics, which have been around since the 1960s, rely on either bismuth telluride or lead telluride.  These materials are relatively expensive due to scarcity and lack of a large manufacturing infrastructure.  They are also bulky and require more material, which further increaese their cost.  While thermoelectric coolers have achieved modest commercial usage in seat coolers and picnic coolers, they have yet to realize their full potential.

A new breakthrough may change that.  Professor Peidong Yang and his colleagues at the University of California, Berkley published in last week's Nature journal the results of years of research into using silicon as thermoelectrics.  Their results show that silicon can be a viable thermoelectric.

The key is in the preparation.  The researchers prepared thin nanowires of silicon.  When these wires are exposed to a temperature difference, they generate electricity.  Standard silicon is a poor thermoelectric, but according to Dr. Yang, "the performance of the nanowires is already comparable to the best existing thermoelectric material."

A good thermoelectric needs to have two key properties -- good electrical conduction, and poor heat conduction.  Silicon typically conducts both very well, but by producing 50 nm nanowires, the heat conduction of silicon is reduced to one hundreth of its normal levels, while electrical conduction remains unchanged.  The material is comparable to commercial thermoelectrics.

Two possible uses of the technology are to generate electricity from waste heat of car engines.  Current thermoelectrics are too expensive and large to make this a practical possibility.  Nanowire silicon layers, though could provide a means to recapture some of the energy lost to heat during the conversion to mechanical energy in a car engine.  This extra savings could be stored in batteries, to give next generation electric vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Volt, even better efficiency.

It could also find a home in solar power cells.  By coupling it with traditional photoelectric cells, much higher efficiencies could possibly be reached.  Yet another application is to put the materials in computers to provide energy savings, which would be particularly valuable to mobile computing.  Further, it could be used in refrigeration applications, as well.

Much work needs to be done before the process is perfected.  The physics behind why nanowires of silicon lose their heat conduction is not understood, which stands in the way of refining the efficiency of this class of devices.  Further creating a thermoelectric on the macroscopic scale, by creating a network of nanowires, has yet to be accomplished.  Still, the discovery of these properties in silicon promise a way to eventually use replace current less ideal thermoelectrics with an abundant material with a large processing infrastructure.


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Cool.
By StevoLincolnite on 1/21/2008 4:30:56 AM , Rating: 2
Only two gripes that I have found during the article, the first being a spelling mistake and the second caused me to read the sentence a couple of times.

which further increaes their cost.

and



These materials are relatively expensive do to scarcity and lack of a large manufacturing infrastructure.


I think this would be handy to have on the bottom of my laptop to turn the heat into electricity, and have solar panels on behind the Monitor, Mind you it wouldn't come cheap but it would be perfect for road warriors.
Or perhaps those who work out in the middle of no-where, like Farmers.




RE: Cool.
By Visual on 1/21/2008 7:42:47 AM , Rating: 3
i imagine it's not meant for the bottom of the laptop, it is good for being built-in into the chip, or maybe between the chip and heatsink.


RE: Cool.
By mmntech on 1/21/2008 9:48:23 AM , Rating: 2
It would certainly revolutionize electronics, and electrical engineering in general. Electrical appliances waste huge amounts of energy producing excess heat.


RE: Cool.
By captchaos2 on 1/21/2008 12:37:17 PM , Rating: 2
So, could I overclock my processor and power my house from it?


RE: Cool.
By dflynchimp on 1/22/2008 12:21:49 AM , Rating: 2
wouldn't work. In a perfect environment you can only get back as much energy as you put in, and assuming your computer used some of that energy for computation purposes you'd get back less energy than you put in. But if you were to loop the generated power back into your computer you're overall power consumption could be cut drastically.


RE: Cool.
By StevoLincolnite on 1/22/2008 1:27:10 AM , Rating: 2
Hmm, I somehow was thinking about the Prescott whilst reading you're post...


RE: Cool.
By Samus on 1/23/2008 1:42:22 AM , Rating: 2
Think of it as capturing energy from a lightbulb much like a solar panel, but instead your capturing the heat instead of the light rays.

Of course it wont be 100% efficient, but even if it reclaimed 10-20% of the energy excerted from a refridgerator coil, that's 10-20% energy savings.

It could also extend into the automotive industry to replace alternators with thermoelectric generators that run inline with the coolant, reducing the lost horsepower from an alternator.


RE: Cool.
By dluther on 1/21/2008 8:21:30 AM , Rating: 2
Good eye -- Jason, you still have one lingering out there:

quote:
These materials are relatively expensive due to scarcity and lack of a large manufacturing infrastructure. They are also bulky and require more material, which further increaese their cost.


Should be "which further increase their cost".

I have often wondered if such a system could be used in conjunction with heat pipes to first dissipate heat away from the major heat-generating components and then converted back into electricity.

Obviously, such a system wouldn't be able to actually power things on heat alone, but it could extend the battery life, and probably by a good margin if the electricity regeneration cycle is efficient enough.


RE: Cool.
By PlasmaBomb on 1/21/2008 8:52:39 AM , Rating: 2
If we are pointing out mistakes...

Second paragraph -
A thermoelectric device has two __ basic modes of operation.

(two spaces between the words two and basic).

Third paragraph -
further increaese their cost.

increases

Sixth paragraph -
heat conduction of silicon is reduced to one hundreth of its normal levels.

hundredth

On the whole though, an interesting article. Thanks :)


RE: Cool.
By SkyOwner on 1/21/2008 9:02:22 AM , Rating: 2
How about UC Berkley?

It was Berkeley last time I checked (A)

But overall it's an interesting technique, however, it'll probably take real long until it will be implemented in actual products.


RE: Cool.
By dluther on 1/21/2008 9:25:13 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Second paragraph -
A thermoelectric device has two __ basic modes of operation.

(two spaces between the words two and basic).


I think this can be forgiven due to the fact that a proportional font is being used.

quote:

Third paragraph -
further increaese their cost.

increases


This is wrong on two counts. First, the paragraph opens up with "they", indicating a plurality (he increases, they increase). But if that weren't enough, he also gives two cases for the increase -- bulky, and require more material -- again which require a singular modifier in the case of equally applied, plural objects.

quote:

Sixth paragraph -
heat conduction of silicon is reduced to one hundreth of its normal levels.

hundredth


Now there's a good one.


RE: Cool.
By PlasmaBomb on 1/21/2008 1:23:42 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, my mistake, should have pulled the entire line then I wouldn't have forgoten what the quote was ;)


RE: Cool.
By Polynikes on 1/21/2008 10:53:02 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, good job pointing out a mistake your comment's parent already did.


RE: Cool.
By GaryJohnson on 1/21/2008 9:44:37 AM , Rating: 4
Would it not better serve the community and the comments system to email the author grammatical and spelling corrections? Your basically hitting the 'Reply to All' button by posting a comment about it when it really doesn't apply to the rest of us.


RE: Cool.
By StevoLincolnite on 1/22/2008 1:30:34 AM , Rating: 2
Or, they could make it similar to Wikipedia so that the community could fix errors, or mis-information.


RE: Cool.
By dluther on 1/22/2008 9:04:19 AM , Rating: 2
You bring up an excellent point. However, there are two issues I have with your assertion:

1) In a public forum, the same mistakes tend not to be dealt with in multiplicity, save for the cases where they are simultaneously addressed. Additionally, the more eyes, the better.

2) Since Jason Mick has provided this story in a public forum, then Jason must also accept the responsibility of public scrutiny for either premise or presentation.

It's evident that Daily Tech doesn't have an editorial staff; if it does, it's certainly not a traditional one where style guides, proofreading and grammatical analysis are part and parcel of such responsibilities. That doesn't mean such responsibilities are unimportant or unnecessary; it probably means that Daily Tech simply can't afford to hire someone to fill that role.

I like Jason Mick's articles. I look forward to more from him, and wish him well in his endeavors here at Daily Tech.


Not that universal
By MrTeal on 1/21/2008 11:50:21 AM , Rating: 1
This is a great advancement in thermoelectrics, but it's not going be universally used like many posters seem to think. It works by using a temperature gradient between the sides of the device, and is a poor thermal conductor. So, while you can recover some energy from the waste heat, the device has to be able to handle the increase in temperature.

For instance, in the example of the car, there's already a fairly complex cooling system to keep the engine from overheating. You might be able to encase the outside of the block to recover some heat, but you'd still lose the majority through the radiator, and you couldn't cover the rad without overheating the car.

In the case of CPUs, recovering energy wouldn't really work. People work hard to have very low thermal resistance between die and ambient so these 45nm 80W CPUs don't vaporize themselves. Adding a thermal insulator between the die and heatsink would be a very bad idea.

On the other hand, if they can be made significantly cheaper than current TE elements, and have better efficiency, you might see them used the opposite way, where you apply voltage to them to create a temperature differential. Current peltier coolers for CPUs are horribly inefficient, if you want to dissipate 80W of power from the CPU you'll need to get rid 150W+ from the hot side. If it could be made where you could get the CPU die below ambient, and still be able to use air cooling, that would be great.




RE: Not that universal
By aeroengineer1 on 1/21/2008 2:37:10 PM , Rating: 3
I hate to point this out, but you are thinking of this incorrectly. These would be thermal insulators of and only if they were not generating power. These absorb the heat energy and convert it to electrical energy. If it is producing energy, then it has to be coming from somewhere. Heat contains energy, and the hot side has more than the "cold" side. This means that the hot is providing energy, which is being taken away and converted. If this energy is being taken away, that means that there is a cooling that is happening. Hence you could consider this as a radiator, but instead of heating a liquid then heating the surrounding medium providing energy to that medium, you are converting that energy to electricity.

Adam


RE: Not that universal
By Ringold on 1/21/2008 2:59:11 PM , Rating: 2
The way you describe it, it almost sounds like the TEC technology already used by some extreme overclockers on their processors. It was my understanding that it was well known as possibly the least practical, least efficient (they require their own, some times beefy, powersupplies), most dangerous way to cool a CPU.

Somehow I fail to see how flipping it over will ever produce more then a trickle, nor be able to cool it nearly as well?


RE: Not that universal
By MrTeal on 1/21/2008 3:50:46 PM , Rating: 2
It's the same principle, backwards. Apply a voltage, and it creates a temperature difference. Apply a temperature difference, it creates a voltage. I was commenting on the poster who'd (half jokingly, I assume) said that these could be used on a hot processor to produce power.


RE: Not that universal
By MrTeal on 1/21/2008 3:43:45 PM , Rating: 3
That's entirely possible, I think of things incorrectly on a fairly consistent basis. However, I'm not sure I am here. The Seebeck Effect is when a voltage is produced by a difference in temperature. In order to produce voltage, the element you insert has to be hotter on one side than on the other. That means that in order to work, the device has to be a good thermal insulator, working or not.

quote:
A good thermoelectric needs to have two key properties -- good electrical conduction, and poor heat conduction. Silicon typically conducts both very well, but by producing 50 nm nanowires, the heat conduction of silicon is reduced to one hundreth of its normal levels, while electrical conduction remains unchanged.


Look at the CPU case. Simplified, you have 3 sources of thermal resistance, die to case, case to heatsink, and heatsink to ambient. The reason people spend money on products like exotic thermal grease is they want to get the thermal resistance from CPU case to the heatsink as low as possible, ideally the base of the heatink would be the same temperature as the CPU die.

In order to produce energy using the Seebeck effect, there has to be a temperature difference between the two sides of the device. So, in order to produce electrical power the case of the CPU would have to be significantly hotter than the base of the heatsink.


RE: Not that universal
By DKWinsor on 1/21/2008 5:12:35 PM , Rating: 2
You are arguing that the less heat conductive a TEC is the worse its application in a CPU becomes (worse for the CPU that is). It's already been stated that the less heat conductive a TEC is the better (in general that is). Let's imagine a TEC that conducts NO heat. If we were to stick this TEC between a CPU and a heatsink, would heat fail to flow from the 'hot' side to the 'cold' side, and thus melt our CPU?

The answer is no. Even though our special TEC is not transfering heat energy via conduction, it is still 'cooling' the hot side. The lost heat from the hot side flows towards the cold side but gets redirected into powering the TEC's current via the Seebeck effect.

If we want our CPU to be relatively cool and we have a heatsink at room ambient temperature, then the temperature difference is small. This means the Seebeck effect will produce low voltage. But that's ok, because the TEC will just produce a lot of amps in order to move the necessary watts. On the other hand, low voltage and high amperage means if our heat inconductive TEC isn't also a perfect electrical conductor it will be producing a lot of waste heat. This waste heat would realistically flow to both sides, but because our fictional TEC is heat inconductive I dunno, maybe it would blow up.

So we are right back at "A good thermoelectric needs to have two key properties -- good electrical conduction, and poor heat conduction." We aren't at the point where we can stick a TEC between a CPU and a heatsink and have it produce any noticible amount of power if we want our CPU to survive. We can stick a TEC between a CPU and a heatsink and cool the CPU via the Peltier effect but that's different. Anyways, if the silicon nanowires prove to work so much better, then maybe the application of generating power from waste CPU/car/whatever heat would become viable.


RE: Not that universal
By MrTeal on 1/21/2008 6:32:34 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Let's imagine a TEC that conducts NO heat. If we were to stick this TEC between a CPU and a heatsink, would heat fail to flow from the 'hot' side to the 'cold' side, and thus melt our CPU?


It probably wouldn't melt the CPU, just a small part of the die. ;) n=1-Tc/Th. If the ambient temperature was 0, then a perfect TEC might be able to convert all the heat into electrical energy. With the cool side at room temperature, even a perfect TEC would not be 100% efficient, and heat would build up until the device was destroyed.

In real world applications, if you have a device that's converting a set amount of power into heat, it will continue to get hotter until the temperature differential is such that an equilibrium is reached. Some small portion of the power will be converted to electricity and moved elsewhere, while the majority will be transfered to the heatsink and then to the ambient air. The only difference is that now the increased thermal resistance will mean that the temperature difference from hot to cold is greater than without the device.

Basically, this kind of device might be good at generating some power where heatsinking isn't currently necessary. I used to have an old Toyota Tercel, and in the winter I'd stick a piece of cardboard in between the grill and radiator. If I didn't, the coolant never got hot enough to properly heat the inside of the car when it was -30 outside. It was easier than changing the thermostat. In that kind of case, this would make sense. Large delta-T, not worried about overheating the engine.

Now, picture someone coating their radiator in the summertime in LA. Already the cooling system is working as hard as it can to keep the car from overheating in the 100F+ weather while you're stuck in traffic. If you place a layer that decreases your thermal conductivity you either have to increase the surface area of your radiator, increase the conductivity in other parts of the system, or build the engine to survive higher temperatures.

In the end, these would be useful if you have heat that's just wastefully floating away. Basically, all I'm saying in the OP is that if you've invested energy (running a fan) and materials (coolant, radiator, heatsink, etc) towards maintaining a low temperature so that your product doesn't fail, chances are trying to use thermocouples to retrieve a little excess energy will not be practical. Efficiencies would have to get well above the current TECs, which are the same as what these prototype have, before many new applications could be found. They work great in things like radioisotope generators, because you can have a hunk of plutonium releasing 4500W of heat and glowing red to produce 300W of electrical power.


RE: Not that universal
By DKWinsor on 1/22/2008 12:33:09 AM , Rating: 2
I think in my last post I mixed up hot and cold side, I apologize if this confused anyone. In a TEC running in peltier mode the cold plate gets cold and the hot plate gets hot. You want to cool the CPU not heat it, so you put the TEC's cold plate next to the CPU. This is different from running a TEC in the seebeck mode, where the orinentation of the hot and cold plates do not matter much - the plate on the side of the CPU will be hotter than the plate on the side of the heatsink. All that changes when you flip plates is you flip the voltage to negative, which is easily changed by reversing your wires. I hope that's clearer than mud.

That's funny, because my dad did something to his Toyota Tercel's manifold with silicone sealant and I think cardboard.

But sticking a piece of cardboard between the radiator and the windflow is not the same as sticking a TEC between a CPU and a heatsink. Sure they both increase the thermal resistance but one has a special thermoelectrical effect that counters it.

I've used a TEC to cool my CPU - I put it in, hooked it up to a water cooler, insulated it so water wouldn't condense (the CPU went below ambient), and ran it on my 12v line. Since it was rated at 14.4v it moved less heat than the maximum it could, but the heat it did move was moved more efficiently per watt, with less waste heat output to the waterblock. I no longer use it, just use water, because it was a hassle and ate a lot of power. Plus that was on my old CPU and my new Core 2 Duo overclocks fine as is. So anyways I have experience using the peltier effect of a TEC but not the seebeck effect.

Let's suppose we have a CPU that is cooled by water, so a high wattage of heat dissipated by the CPU equals a low temperature increase in the water. But instead of some thermal compound, let's stick a piece of cardboard between the CPU and the waterblock. Our CPU when turned off is at ambient. We turn it on, and within a second the CPU temp rises by some wattage, which equals 5 degrees. Now there is a differential of 5 degrees between it and the water. A differential of 5 degrees means 1 degree's worth of heat wattage can leak past the cardboard and into the water, which for the purposes of this remains the same. The CPU has been coolde by 1 degree so it is 4 degrees above ambient. In the next second that the CPU is on it again rises by 5 degrees worth of heat wattage. This time the differential is 9, and therefore 1.8 degrees can leak over. It's at 7.2, we add 5, and a 12.2 differential means we dissipate 2.44 degrees. And so on until the CPU is 25 degrees hotter than the ambient water temperature and now the CPU dissipates as much heat into the water as it generates.

Let's do the same thing with a regular silicone nanowire TEC with poor heat conductivity. The CPU turns on and it raises 5 degrees. 1 degree of heat on the CPU side leaks out so it's again at +4. Now here comes the tricky part - where it leaks out to - because I don't understand the seebeck effect. One of 2 things could happen.

The first would be this that 1/2 degree goes into the water and 1/2 degree of heat is turned into electricity. If so, then our TEC is as thermally bad as cardboard, allowing the CPU to reach +25, but it also decreases the water's temperature and generates electricity, both of which are good.

Or the second would be that that full 1 degree goes into the water, and we still have to take care of the seebeck effect. I don't know if the water side gets hot or not by this effect, but I do know there is a current generated. Due to conservation of energy this must come from the hot CPU side. Let's say it generates as much power as needed to further cool the CPU by 1 degree so it's at +3. In the next second the CPU is at 8 degrees, so 1.6 degrees go into the water and 1.6 is converted into electricity. Continuing this on, you find the CPU is only +12.5, and you're generating power.

Either way, if you can afford for your CPU's heat to increase over what it is now (and I have no idea by how much), then go ahead and put a thermally resistant thing in your heat loop because you'll get back energy with less waste heat going into ambient.


RE: Not that universal
By MrTeal on 1/22/2008 1:25:47 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Let's suppose we have a CPU that is cooled by water, so a high wattage of heat dissipated by the CPU equals a low temperature increase in the water. But instead of some thermal compound, let's stick a piece of cardboard between the CPU and the waterblock. Our CPU when turned off is at ambient. We turn it on, and within a second the CPU temp rises by some wattage, which equals 5 degrees. Now there is a differential of 5 degrees between it and the water. A differential of 5 degrees means 1 degree's worth of heat wattage can leak past the cardboard and into the water, which for the purposes of this remains the same. The CPU has been coolde by 1 degree so it is 4 degrees above ambient. In the next second that the CPU is on it again rises by 5 degrees worth of heat wattage. This time the differential is 9, and therefore 1.8 degrees can leak over. It's at 7.2, we add 5, and a 12.2 differential means we dissipate 2.44 degrees. And so on until the CPU is 25 degrees hotter than the ambient water temperature and now the CPU dissipates as much heat into the water as it generates.


Ok, I think here's where you're getting it confused a little. In the simple cardboard example you have, the cardboard will have a thermal conductivity, k (kappa), given in W/(m*K). The thermal resistance (theta) is = length/(k*Area). So, in this case, say the cardboard is 1mm thick (l) and has a 4cm^2 area. The whole thing has a thermal resistance of 10K/W, so for every watt of power it dissipates, the temperature will rise 10 Kelvin (or degrees C).

There will be some delay involved due to the (small) thermal mass of the CPU die, but assuming that the CPU die has perfect contact with the top of the package, and the waterblock stays at ambient the whole time (ie, it has no thermal resistance), the temperature of the CPU die will be...
Tcpu = 20C + 10(K/W)*P, where P = power dissipated and T is in celcius. So, if your CPU is dissipating 40 watts, with a crappy piece of cardboard in between it and the waterblock it'll eventually reach an equilibrium, at 420C. Ouch.

For reference here, when you're insulating a transistor in a power amplifier or some such thing, you often have to electrically isolate the back of the transistor from the heatsink, since the transistor might be hooked to a voltage and you don't want to zap someone. One of the best materials was beryllium oxide, until they stopped using it on account of the cancer and all. It had a thermal conductivity of about 0.25K/W. With just one of those crappy elastomer pads you see on heatsinks, it's about 0.1K/W. Hence why people buy the fancy thermal grease.

quote:
Let's do the same thing with a regular silicone nanowire TEC with poor heat conductivity. The CPU turns on and it raises 5 degrees. 1 degree of heat on the CPU side leaks out so it's again at +4. Now here comes the tricky part - where it leaks out to - because I don't understand the seebeck effect. One of 2 things could happen.


If you think of it as a heat engine, you have power going in from the CPU, say 100W. You have electrical power out, and being exceedingly generous I'll say 10%, so 10W. The other 90W are heat that goes to the water block. You would still be dissipating 90W, and even if the element had a resistance of 1K/W, you'd still be looking at a 100C cpu once it stabilized. All that for 10 lousy watts of power.


I'm getting this sense of Deja Vu
By dflynchimp on 1/22/2008 12:19:16 AM , Rating: 2
Didn't DT report on a similar subject where some Scientist figured to use heat from computer components to generate electricity? Something to do with high frequency sound or sommat? I'm losing myself here...




RE: I'm getting this sense of Deja Vu
By dflynchimp on 1/22/2008 12:27:20 AM , Rating: 2
forgot to add tho, this would be best put to siphon energy off from the heat generated from traditional powerplants. A lot of energy is lost that isn't being used to boil water to drive the turbines. This would be analogous to the turbos that Ford is thinking of putting on its cars.


By DKWinsor on 1/22/2008 12:39:23 AM , Rating: 2
They get as much energy out of it as they can. Maybe they already use TECs in some places, in which case an upgrade would still be benefitial. But for a TEC to generate power you need heat flowing from a hot place to a cold place. This is something they already do - they heat up the gas that is about to be burned with hot water, making the water cooler. So I'd guess that in some cases a TEC is not really applicable, or at least, less applicable.


Other aplications.
By Cogman on 1/21/2008 8:47:39 AM , Rating: 2
I wonder how long these things last, and how efficient they are (do they make back the energy it takes to make them?)

If it is pretty good, and mass production becomes viable. I don't see why we wouldn't line any power plant that uses steam for power generation with these things. I imagine a giant nuclear power plants cooling tower being lined all they way from top to bottom with these things should produce a lot more power then it currently is making.




RE: Other aplications.
By PlasmaBomb on 1/21/2008 8:54:35 AM , Rating: 2
If they are comparable to current thermoelectrics as the article states, you could be thinking single digits.


How long before the machines
By kattanna on 1/21/2008 10:26:55 AM , Rating: 2
use this tech on us as their power source?

;>)




RE: How long before the machines
By dflynchimp on 1/22/2008 12:42:10 AM , Rating: 2
hoo hah, I'm thinking pod-people from matrix, neh?


By someguy743 on 1/21/2008 8:38:11 AM , Rating: 3
I think researchers all over the world should start spending a lot of R&D money on this silicon nanowire technology. If you are in college you should be studying nano tech that's for sure. It looks like it will be huge field. Lots of entrepreneurs could get rich because of nanotech.

http://www.technologyreview.com/Nanotech/20000/

http://www.technologyreview.com/Energy/20057/

http://www.technologyreview.com/search.aspx?s=nano...

I would love to see the latest and greatest nano technology put into the new electric cars coming out in the next few years such as the Chevy Volt. I can't wait to get me an electric car with 400+ miles of range on electricity alone.

I bet it happens sooner than people think. Hopefully, the costs of this new technology will be reasonable and we can all afford new cars with silicon nanowire lithium-ion batteries that also can use nanowires to convert heat back into electricity for the battery. Have brakes that convert kinetic energy back into electricity for the battery!. Put ultra efficient, super thin, high capacity integrated solar cells on the roof of the car to help charge the battery too. Multiple systems!

I'd like to see some ULTRA efficient electric cars come out that have all the performance and quality exterior/interior design that you see in today's top cars. I would love to see the new Chevy Volt get a bunch of accolades by Motor Trend, Car and Driver, Consumer Reports, etc. Excellent exterior/interior design, good acceleration, good reliability/durability and good cost of ownership is what is going to make cars like the Chevy Volt a smash hit.




The problem is mass production
By keiclone on 1/21/2008 10:45:40 AM , Rating: 2
I've worked with nanotech applications with carbon nanotubes. Nanotubes of any sort do amazing things, but there's always that one sticking factor that has prohibited adopting any of our current advances in nanotechnology: the fact that producing nanotubes en-masse is very expensive.

I think there will be quite a lot of money waiting for the research team that devises a cheaper production method for nanotubes and other nanoscale devices.




Application # 1:
By NicePants42 on 1/25/2008 2:52:51 PM , Rating: 2
http://www.dailytech.com/Drought+Threatens+To+Crip...

For help with mass production see:
http://www.dailytech.com/Scientists+Develop+Ingeni...
If it works with carbon, it can probably be modified to work with silicon. Otherwise, check with Michael Sussman:
http://www.dailytech.com/Getting+Smaller+Computers...
Other manufacturing possibilities may exist there.




P4 Lives Again!
By lifeblood on 1/21/2008 10:14:32 AM , Rating: 1
Put one of these on an overclocked P4 and it would generate enough waste heat to power a Quad SLI setup. Microburst shall rise again!




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