Research Activities

Advanced applications of quasi 1d oxides

New seed activities are under investigation, which exploit physical properties of quasi 1D oxides for the preparation of a new generation of devices with novel functional properties like gas detection through surface ionization mechanism. Besides, intentional doping can greatly modify the device properties and yield new device applications other than electrodes in solar cells, like innovative thermoelectric materials for high temperature applications.

Surface ionization (SI) gas detection is a form of gas detection that involves ions which are formed by the adsorption of analyte molecules on heated solid surfaces, electron transfer from the adsorbed analytes to the solid adsorbent and extraction of the charged adsorbates into free space by an external electrical field. Thermal emission of positive ions from MOX nanowires is significantly more efficient than emission from flat surfaces of the same material. Developed devices will be proposed as innovative ion sources for non-radioactive Ion Mass Spectrometry for safety applications. Research is carried out in collaboration with EADS Munich.

The conversion efficiency of state of the art thermoelectric generators is limited to about 6%: higher performance low weight high-temperature thermoelectric materials than those that are currently in use are strongly needed. It has recently been shown that Si based quasi monodimensional 1D nanowires can be designed to achieve extremely large enhancements in thermoelectric efficiency, but only for low temperature (T<350K) thermoelectric. Quasi 1D metal oxide nanowires (MOX) would indeed provide the benefits of reduced dimensionality with their excellent durability at high temperatures and are formidable candidates to develop high-temperature thermoelectrics. The objective is to assess the thermoelectric performances of quasi 1D MOX nanowires prepared by a simple and low cost evaporation condensation method and to build innovative thermoelectric modules to be employed in radioisotope thermoelectric generators and in the automotive industry in terms of fuel economy improvements by generating electricity from high temperature waste heat and enhancing air conditioning efficiency. Beside developed modules could have a significant impact on low power portable electronics.

Gas sensor based on surface ionisation mechanism, schematic device layout
Gas sensor based on surface ionisation mechanism, calibration curve toward NO2.

Personale INO dipendente:
Baratto Camilla, Ponzoni Andrea,

Personale associato:
Faglia Guido Pietro,

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