This scanning electron microscope image shows a silicon nanowire resting on two silicon nitride (SiNx) membranes.
Thermoelectric materials convert heat to electricity and vice versa. Most fossil-fuel-powered engines generate waste heat, so researchers are using nanotechnologies to explore ways of making thermoelectric devices more efficient in order to convert that waste heat to usable power—and thus save energy. This assembly was built to measure the thermal conductivity of a silicon nanowire synthesized specifically for thermoelectric applications.
• SIZE: The diameter of the central nanowire is approximately 100 nm.
• IMAGING TOOL: Scanning electron microscope
- Nanometer-sized things are very small, and often behave differently than larger things do.
- Nanoscience, nanotechnology, and nanoengineering lead to new knowledge and innovations that weren't possible before.
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