Project TitleImproved Lead-Based Eutectic Composite
Track Code2007-079, 2009-047, 2009-107
Short Description

Lead-based composite material for conversion of waste heat into electrical energy 

#energy #materials #thermoelectric #composite #metals 


Thermoelectric devices such as power generators, heat pumps, coolers and thermal sensors have several advantages over traditional energy converting systems. These devices are portable, reliable and environmentally friendly. However, their efficiency of energy conversion is low compared to current alternatives and this impedes their widespread use. In order to increase energy conversion efficiency, new materials with advantageous thermoelectric properties must be generated. The Kanatzidis group at Northwestern University has invented a new class of thermoelectric composite materials, which display very high conversion efficiencies. To design these materials, researchers inserted nano- and micro-structured islands of PbSnS2 into the lead-telluride bulk material. The resulting composites display extremely high-energy conversion efficiencies and are mechanically stronger then the starting materials. Therefore, these novel lead-based eutectic composites may find uses outside of energy conversion devices. 

TagsENERGY: thermoelectric, MATERIALS: composite, MATERIALS: metals
Posted DateFeb 20, 2015 11:19 AM


Mercouri G. Kanatzidis*

Joseph R. Sootsman

Steven N. Girard

Qichun Zhang

Kaniska Biswas


  • Internal combustion engines (conversion of heat into energy)
  • Automobiles and trucks
  • Nuclear reactors


  • Improved thermoelectric performance
  • Increased mechanical integrity


IP Status

An international patent application has been filed and a US patent 8,277,677 has been issued.

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