Rice University

Events at Rice


Electrical and Computer Engineering
Dean of Engineering
Faculty Host: Aydin Babakhani

Speaker: Roger T Howe
William E. Ayer Professor, Electrical Engineering
Stanford University

ECE Seminar Series: Progress Toward Wafer-Scale Thermionic Energy Converters (698/699)

Thursday, March 9, 2017
1:00 PM  to 2:00 PM

102  Keck Hall
Rice University
6100 Main St
Houston, Texas, USA

Thermionic energy converters (TECs) are simple heat engines that were conceived in 1915, demonstrated in 1939, and were the focus of major research programs from 1960 through 2000 for space nuclear power. TEC research has recently seen the beginning of a revival based on new fabrication technology, materials, and device designs. The use of micro electromechanical systems (MEMS) processes for TEC fabrication is an attractive route to overcoming some of the design challenges and to dramatically reducing manufacturing costs. Over the past decade, researchers at Stanford have investigated wafer-scale processes for thermally isolated cathode structures, low work function anodes, and thermal isolation structures, as well as a new concept, the photon-enhanced thermionic energy converter. My talk will provide an overview of recent progress in this technology around the world, its applications, and my perspectives on the remaining challenges for this potentially important energy conversion technology.

Biography of Roger T Howe:
Roger T. Howe is the William E. Ayer Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. He received a B.S. degree in physics from Harvey Mudd College and an M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 1981 and 1984. After faculty positions at CMU and MIT from 1984 – 1987, he returned to Berkeley where he was a Professor until 2005. His research group focuses on nano electromechanical system design and fabrication for a variety of applications. He has been the Faculty Director of the Stanford Nanofabrication Facility since 2009 and was the Director of the NSF’s National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN) from 2011 – 2015.

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