Ertekin receives NSF DMREF grant
MechSE associate professor Elif Ertekin, in collaboration with colleagues at Colorado School of Mines, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Northwestern, and Stanford, has received an NSF Division of Materials Research grant to develop an experimentally validated, computational prediction engine for the dopability of thermoelectric materials.
The grant, titled “Accelerating Thermoelectric Materials Discovery via Dopability Predictions,” is a part of NSF’s DMREF (Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer our Future) program, which is the primary program by which the NSF participates in the Materials Genome Initiative for Global Competitiveness.
Thermoelectric materials either create an electric potential from a temperature difference or create a temperature difference from an electric potential. Current, commonly-used thermoelectric materials suffer from poor power conversion efficiency, thus there is a broad search for more effective options.
Ertekin’s research involves designing and implementing a computational approach that can accelerate the search for effective thermoelectric materials.
This recommendation engine will be constructed in two parts. Initially, the engine will use a set of known data for training. Once that is complete, the prediction engine will be programmed to identify patterns and characteristics in the compounds that show dopability.
Previous studies have focused on doping and electrical properties of compounds one at a time, but the goal of this project is to eventually screen over 100. The compounds that pass the engine’s screening will then be experimentally synthesized and characterized to measure actual performance.
The results of this research, accompanied by the results of a previous DMREF that focused on predicting transport properties of complex materials, aims to optimize the discovery process of thermoelectric materials. With that acceleration, Ertekin said her hope is to find thermoelectric materials with higher power conversion efficiency to revolutionize how the world produces electricity and cooling.