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Low work function materials for microminiature energy conversion and recovery applications

United States Patent

May 13, 2003
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
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Low work function materials are disclosed together with methods for their manufacture and integration with electrodes used in thermionic conversion applications (specifically microminiature thermionic conversion applications). The materials include a mixed oxide system and metal in a compositionally modulated structure comprised of localized discontinuous structures of material that are deposited using techniques suited to IC manufacture, such as rf sputtering or CVD. The structures, which can include layers are then heated to coalescence yielding a thin film that is both durable and capable of electron emission under thermionic conversion conditions used for microminiature thermionic converters. Using the principles of the invention, thin film electrodes (emitters and collectors) required for microconverter technology are manufactured using a single process deposition so as to allow for full fabrication integration consistent with batch processing, and tailoring of emission/collection properties. In the preferred embodiment, the individual layers include mixed BaSrCaO, scandium oxide and tungsten.
Zavadil; Kevin R. (Bernalillo, NM), Ruffner; Judith A. (Albuquerque, NM), King; Donald B. (Albuquerque, NM)
Sandia Corporation (Albuquerque, NM)
09/ 257,336
February 25, 1999
This invention was made with support from the United States Government under Contract DE-AC04-96AL85000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in this invention.