A low-cost nanomaterial that converts waste heat into usable electricity could be safely applied to flexible plastics.
Conventional thermoelectric materials are expensive to create and require high levels of heat to produce. In contrast, the material from the team at KAUST was created by spin-coating a thin liquid solution of lead-sulphide quantum dots onto a surface. A solution of linker ligand was then applied to crosslink the quantum dots and increase the electronic properties of the material. This process was repeated in layers to form a 200-nanometer-thick film, followed by ‘gentle thermal annealing’ to dry the film in place.
Because the process requires temperatures of only 348°F rather than the conventional 750°F, it is suitable for use on a wide range of materials, including flexible plastics.