Flexible Thermoelectric Generators with Inkjet-Printed Bismuth Telluride Nanowires and Liquid Metal Contacts

Thumbnail Image
Chen, Bolin
Kruse, Matthew
Xu, Biao
Tutika, Ravi
Zheng, Wei
Wu, Yue
Major Professor
Committee Member
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Claussen, Jonathan
Associate Professor
Bartlett, Michael
Assistant Professor
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Organizational Unit
Mechanical Engineering
The Department of Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State University is where innovation thrives and the impossible is made possible. This is where your passion for problem-solving and hands-on learning can make a real difference in our world. Whether you’re helping improve the environment, creating safer automobiles, or advancing medical technologies, and athletic performance, the Department of Mechanical Engineering gives you the tools and talent to blaze your own trail to an amazing career.
Organizational Unit
Materials Science and Engineering

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering teaches the composition, microstructure, and processing of materials as well as their properties, uses, and performance. These fields of research utilize technologies in metals, ceramics, polymers, composites, and electronic materials.

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering was formed in 1975 from the merger of the Department of Ceramics Engineering and the Department of Metallurgical Engineering.

Dates of Existence

Related Units

Organizational Unit
Chemical and Biological Engineering

The function of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering has been to prepare students for the study and application of chemistry in industry. This focus has included preparation for employment in various industries as well as the development, design, and operation of equipment and processes within industry.Through the CBE Department, Iowa State University is nationally recognized for its initiatives in bioinformatics, biomaterials, bioproducts, metabolic/tissue engineering, multiphase computational fluid dynamics, advanced polymeric materials and nanostructured materials.

The Department of Chemical Engineering was founded in 1913 under the Department of Physics and Illuminating Engineering. From 1915 to 1931 it was jointly administered by the Divisions of Industrial Science and Engineering, and from 1931 onward it has been under the Division/College of Engineering. In 1928 it merged with Mining Engineering, and from 1973–1979 it merged with Nuclear Engineering. It became Chemical and Biological Engineering in 2005.

Dates of Existence
1913 - present

Historical Names

  • Department of Chemical Engineering (1913–1928)
  • Department of Chemical and Mining Engineering (1928–1957)
  • Department of Chemical Engineering (1957–1973, 1979–2005)
    • Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (2005–present)

    Related Units

Journal Issue
Is Version Of

Solution phase printing of nanomaterials is becoming increasingly important for the creation of scalable flexible electronics including those associated with biomedical and energy harvesting applications. However, the use of solution-phase printed thermoelectric energy generators (TEGs) has been minimally explored. Herein we report a highly flexible inkjet-printed TEG. Bismuth telluride (Bi2Te3) and bismuth antimony telluride (Bi0.5Sb1.5Te3) nanowires (NWs) are inkjet printed onto polyimide to form n-type and p-type legs for the TEGs. A post-print thermal annealing process is used to increase the thermoelectric performance of the printed NWs while eutectic gallium-indium (EGaIn) liquid metal contacts electrically connect the TEG legs in series. Annealing conditions for the combination of p/n legs are examined to maximize the thermoelectric efficiency of the TEG prototype. The maximum power factor was found to be 180 μW m-1K-2 and 110 μW m-1K-2 for Bi2Te3 and Bi0.5Sb1.5Te3 respectively, and a maximum power of 127 nW at a 32.5 K temperature difference. The performance of the TEG device does not diminish even after multiple bending (up to 50 times) experiments around a tight radius of curvature (rod dia. 11 mm). Hence this inkjet-printed flexible TEG is a step towards a fully functional wearable TEG device.


This is a manuscript of an article published as Chen, Bolin, Matthew Kruse, Biao Xu, Ravi Tutika, Wei Zheng, Michael Bartlett, Yue Wu, and Jonathan C. Claussen. "Flexible Thermoelectric Generators with Inkjet-Printed Bismuth Telluride Nanowires and Liquid Metal Contacts." Nanoscale (2018). DOI: 10.1039/C8NR09101C. Posted with permission.

Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2018