The objective of this research is to develop strategies for materials integration based upon the ion-cut-synthesis process, which consists of simultaneous synthesis and layer transfer of electrically-active nanostructures. This research objective will be accomplished by developing an improved understanding of the nanostructure and bubble formation processes. In addition, the substrate bonding and thermal processing steps will be optimized for a variety of bonding agents, substrate materials, and ion-cut methods. This project will lay the foundation for a larger effort for developing integration methods for a variety of important technologies.
A major technological hurdle to global energy sustainability is the replacement of environmentally harmful and rapidly depleting energy sources with ecologically responsible and renewable sources. Solar power is one promising avenue to clean energy; however, the relative efficiency, availability, or cost of solar power as compared to polluting power sources such as fossil fuels can preclude its widespread application. In terms of efficiency of solar cells and solar concentrators, the majority of energy (up to 95%) is converted to waste heat. The pairing of thermoelectric devices with solar cells and/or solar concentrators is a promising route to recovery of otherwise wasted energy. To this end, this project involves study of nanostructured materials for efficient conversion of both light and heat from the sun to electricity, as well as the development of a thin-film layer transfer technique to reduce materials cost. Thus, if successful, the ion-cut-synthesis approach would enable efficient conversion of both heat and light to electricity, providing a possible solution to the challenge of cost-efficient energy sustainability.