T. E. Humphrey

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Irreversible effects in thermoelectric materials limit their efficiency and economy for applications in power generation and refrigeration. While electron transport is unavoidably irreversible in bulk materials, here we derive conditions under which reversible diffusive electron transport can be achieved in nanostructured thermoelectric materials. We(More)
In conventional p–n junction solar cells, carrier multiplication by impact ionisation, is negligible, owing to the low temperature of the electron–hole pairs. This leads to particle conservation between the net number of absorbed photons and the number of electron–hole pairs withdrawn from the cell. In hot-carrier solar cells, in which electrons are at a(More)
Conventional thermionic power generators and refrigerators utilize a barrier in the direction of transport to selectively transmit high-energy electrons, resulting in an energy spectrum of electrons that is not optimal for high efficiency or high power. Here, we derive the ideal energy spectrum for achieving maximum power in thermionic refrigerators and(More)
Brownian heat engines use local temperature gradients in asymmetric potentials to move particles against an external force. The energy efficiency of such machines is generally limited by irreversible heat flow carried by particles that make contact with different heat baths. Here we show that, by using a suitably chosen energy filter, electrons can be(More)
We show that the expressions for current and heat current calculated via (the non-linearized) ballistic and diffusive transport formalisms reduce to the same form for solid-state devices one electron mean free path in length. The materials parameters for thermionic and thermoelectric devices are also shown to be equal, rather than differing by a(More)
A brief overview of the research activities at the Thermionic Energy Conversion (TEC) Center is given. The goal is to achieve direct thermal to electric energy conversion with >20% efficiency and >1W/cm power density at a hot side temperature of 300-650C. Thermionic emission in both vacuum and solid-state devices is investigated. In the case of solid-state(More)
Hot carrier solar cells are a third generation solar cell device where electrons and holes, heated by solar radiation, are removed from the absorber via low-dimensional energy selective contacts before they can thermalise to the band edge. Here, a new model is presented for calculating the performance of these devices, which takes into account the energy(More)
We show that the details of the energy spectrum of transmitted electrons in thermionic and thermoelectric devices have a significant impact on their performance. We distinguish between traditional thermionic devices where electron momentum is filtered in the direction of transport only and a second type, in which the electron filtering occurs according to(More)