DGIST Develops Thermoelectric Material with Optimal Cost, Efficiency, and Flexibility! Pioneering a New Era in Eco-Friendly Thermoelectric Technology

- Development of 'Inorganic-Organic Thermoelectric Composite' from Low-Temperature Inorganic Thermoelectric Materials and Conductive Polymers, Ensuring Efficiency and Flexibility - Research findings published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces

□ A team led by Principal Researcher, Kim Cham of the Nano Convergence Research Department at DGIST (President Kunwoo Lee), in collaboration with Professor Taewook Kim of the Department of Energy Chemical Engineering at Kyungpook National University, has developed an 'Inorganic-Organic Thermoelectric Composite' that promises competitive pricing, while addressing efficiency and flexibility challenges in thermoelectric technology. This breakthrough is expected to not only revolutionize traditional industries, but also pave the way for advancements in new, cutting-edge sectors.


□ 'Thermoelectric technology,' an energy conversion technology between heat and electricity, represents an eco-friendly approach by converting waste heat into electricity. It is known for its ability to 'generate power from heat' and provide 'cooling effects using electricity.' With applications ranging from waste heat recovery generation and refrigerant-free cooling devices in traditional industries to precision temperature control systems, through localized cooling and heating, and continuous power supply energy harvesters in advanced new industries, its versatility is receiving significant attention.


□ Despite ongoing research and development on various types of bulk and thin-film thermoelectric materials and devices, owing to the advantages of thermoelectric technology, the chronic issue of lower efficiency and flexibility, as compared to other energy conversion technologies, has been a persistent challenge.


□ Accordingly, the team at the Nano Convergence Research Department, led by Principal Researcher Kim Cham, manufactured an 'Inorganic-Organic Thermoelectric Composite' by combining conventional inorganic thermoelectric materials with conductive polymers to maximize the efficiency and flexibility of thermoelectric materials. Notably, the team developed a manufacturing process capable of synthesizing and mixing organic and inorganic components, overcoming the technical challenge of maintaining a uniform phase and securing high density. The 'Inorganic-Organic Thermoelectric Composite' produced through this process boasts not only excellent thermoelectric properties, but also flexibility and cost reduction.


□ Principal Researcher, Kim Cham of DGIST's Nano Convergence Research Department stated, "Through this research, we were able to develop a new material that maximizes the utility of eco-friendly energy technology, i.e., thermoelectric technology." He further stated, "We will continue our efforts to scale up the production technology of thermoelectric composites and stabilize their performance for commercialization, aiming for wide application in both, traditional and cutting-edge new industries."


□ This research was conducted with the support of the Individual Basic Research Project of the Ministry of Science and ICT (National Research Foundation of Korea) and the DGIST Convergence Research Institute's Key Research Project. The results were published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces as a Front Cover Paper.


- Ccorresponding Author E-mail Address : [email protected]

Published: 24 Mar 2024

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