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Open Access Miyazaki Laboratory research in: thermoelectric materials, organic thin films, photovoltaic thin films

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The world's demand for more and more energy is propelling a dramatic escalation of social, financial and political unrest. Meanwhile, the environmental impact of this large-scale energy consumption, much of which is based on the continuous combustion of fossil fuels, is also becoming extremely alarming. Novel methods for reducing energy consumption and waste are urgently needed. One way in which this can be achieved is through the development of energy-harnessing materials. There is compelling reason to design and fabricate inexpensive, long-life and chemically stable novel materials and compounds that have complex thermoelectric (TE) properties. This is the primary objective of the Miyazaki Laboratory, a research group within the Graduate School of Engineering at Tohoku University, Japan, led by Professor Yuzuru Miyazaki. In the Miyazaki Laboratory, the team use their knowledge of the underlying material crystal structure to achieve this goal. The team are also able to make use of cutting-edge developments in synthesis and characterisation techniques (especially those relating to nanomaterials) to develop the next generation of complex thermoelectric materials - materials that will not only possess highly improved thermopower but also a reduced thermal conductivity. While several potential TE materials exist, many consist of rare and/or toxic elements, and some become less stable when exposed to the atmosphere - factors that significantly limit their application potential. For this reason, the Miyazaki Laboratory has been focusing much on their recent research on one particularly promising material: higher manganese silicides (HMSs). Not only do HMSs contain elements that are naturally abundant and non-toxic, but they are also chemically stable up to 1,000 K. At present, the laboratory is engaged in a number of international collaborations with organisations in France, the UK, China and Malaysia. For Miyazaki, such industry collaboration is essential to the group's commitment to producing research with practical impact.
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Keywords: CATHODES; CHEMICALLY STABLE NOVEL MATERIALS AND COMPOUNDS; COMPLEX THERMOELECTRIC (TE) PROPERTIES; COMPLEX THERMOELECTRIC MATERIALS; CRYSTAL STRUCTURE; ENERGY-HARNESSING MATERIALS; HIGHER MANGANESE SILICIDES (HMSS); INDUSTRY COLLABORATION; MIYAZAKI LABORATORY; NANOMATERIALS; REDUCED THERMAL CONDUCTIVITY; SECONDARY BATTERIES; SUPERCONDUCTORS; SYNTHESISING NOVEL THERMOELECTRIC MATERIALS; THERMOPOWER; UNDERLYING MATERIAL CRYSTAL STRUCTURE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2018

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