Research Topics

Thermoelectric Energy Conversion
Thermoelectrics (TE) offers a green option for renewable energy conversion and waste heat harvesting. ZT group aims to improve the energy conversion efficiency by enhancing the firgure of merit of TE materials and devices. At the material level, we investigate TE materials beyond the traditional ones, including oxide and organic materials. At the device level, we develop comprehensive device modeling and evaluate the performance of novel device design.
Micro/NanoElectronics Cooling
As the electronics industry expands rapidly and chip fabrication technology evolves towards further miniaturization, power density and heat flux increase steeply. ZT group targets at developing energy-efficient cooling technologies to improve the device performance and reliability. Of particular interest are to revolutionize thermal interface materials and to mitigate hotspot temperature by rigorous device modeling.
Thermal and Electrical Properties of Polymers
Understanding thermal and electrical properties of polymers is challenging because of the complexity of their structures. We have uncovered effects of polymer chain confinement, topology and morphology on thermal conductivity, and thermoelectric properties of conducting polymers. We are identifying the crucial parameters underpinning the transport properties for a diverse array of applications ranging from thermal insulation, 3D printing, flexible electronics, to biosensors and drug delivery.
Functional Thermal Materials/Devices
To achieve thermal rectification or switching functionality in single material is appealing yet challenging as it requires a drastic change in thermal conductivity when heat flow direction or external condition changes. We focus on advancing the fundamental understanding of unique thermal transport properties of asymmetric, anisotropic, and responsive polymers to enable functional thermal devices for thermal management and phononic information technology.
image (12)Limiting Phonon-Induced Decoherence in Superconducting Qubits Superconducting qubits are a highly promising platform for quantum technologies. The next phases of implementing quantum error correction and large-scale quantum computing are limited primarily by qubit coherence time. One source of decoherence arises from high-energy non-equilibrium phonons, or excess vibrational energy. The goal of our work is to reveal the underlying processes that govern phonon-induced decoherence in superconducting qubits and will use the fundamental knowledge gained to design novel mitigation strategies and evaluate their effectiveness by fabricating and characterizing the performance of superconducting qubit devices.
Screen Shot 2021-12-02 at 11.09.55 PMLightweight, Multifunctional Nanocomposites for High-Voltage Insulation on the Moon Sustained human presence on the Moon requires advances in mission-enabling cables and wires to realize a lunar electrical grid. The lunar environment presents challenges such as exposure to cosmic and UV radiation, extreme temperature deltas, and the electrostatic lunar exosphere and regolith. We focus on improvements in thermal conductivity, dielectric strength, electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding, and mechanical strength of insulating polymer nanocomposites tailored to the demands of the lunar environment.


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