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Solid State eBurner for Supplying Power to Laptops, Cellphones

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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Electrons from the hot Pt nanoparticles are emitted over the oxide conduction band (CB<sub>ox</sub>) barrier into the cold semiconductor to produce power.
Electrons from the hot Pt nanoparticles are emitted over the oxide conduction band (CBox) barrier into the cold semiconductor to produce power.

Technology Marketing SummaryResearchers at ORNL invented a device that converts energy from thermoelectric materials to power for cell phones, laptops, and other portable electric devices. This unique means of producing power is more powerful, lighter, and smaller than existing technologies. Because the only byproducts from this invention are carbon dioxide and water vapor, a substantial reduction in environmental impact from conventional battery disposal is possible with wide-spread use of this device.DescriptionThermoelectricity is the conversion from temperature differentials to electricity, or vice versa. The ORNL solid state converter has a thermally insulating separator layer on one side with an electron emitter made of a metal nanocatalytic layer, and on the other side a semiconducting collector layer. The emitter layer and collector layer are coupled to electrically conductive leads that complete an electrical circuit.

The device works by thermionic emission, where the flow of electrons from a metal surface is caused by thermal vibrational energy overcoming the forces that hold electrons to atoms at the surface. The invention includes providing a thermoionic converter, a fuel, and an oxidant to the electron emitter. The fuel and oxidant spontaneously react on the emitter surface of metal nanoparticles, generating heat sufficient to cause thermionic emission of electrons. These penetrate through the separator layer to the collector layer. The emitter and the collector layer are electrically connected to complete a circuit. Outputs from several converters can be coupled to a portable electronic device to supply power.
Benefits• Environmentally friendly during operation and disposal
• Micro-fabricated structure suitable for mass production and low unit cost
• More powerful, lighter and smaller than other existing technologies
• Complete solid state structure with no moving parts, minimizes maintenance
• Built-in micro-fluidic system for fuel storage, fuel dispensing and system cooling
• Critical parameters can be manipulated using a physics-based, atomic layering approach to device fabrication
Applications and Industries• Portable electronics, including cell phones and laptopsPatents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 7,696,668
Solid state transport-based thermoelectric converter
A solid state thermoelectric converter includes a thermally insulating separator layer, a semiconducting collector and an electron emitter. The electron emitter comprises a metal nanoparticle layer or plurality of metal nanocatalyst particles disposed on one side of said separator layer. A first electrically conductive lead is electrically coupled to the electron emitter. The collector layer is disposed on the other side of the separator layer, wherein the thickness of the separator layer is less than 1 .mu.m. A second conductive lead is electrically coupled to the collector layer.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory 04/13/2010
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
UT-B ID 200601749DevelopmentAvailable10/04/201110/04/2011

Contact ORNL About This Technology

To: Nestor Fronco<>