Thermoelectrics - Northwestern Materials Science



2017 Thermoelectrics Spring Party

2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2007


Group meetings at Northwestern are Thursdays at 4:00 pm Cook 3050




Jeff Snyder

G. Jeffrey Snyder

Professor of Materials Science and Engineering

Jeff Snyder is professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University. He was Faculty Associate in Materials Science at Caltech (2006-2015) and a Senior Member of the Technical Staff in the thermoelectrics group at JPL (1997-2006). He received his B.S. in physics, chemistry and mathematics at Cornell University and his Ph.D. in applied physics from Stanford University (1997) where he was a Hertz Fellow. His research interests include Solid State Chemistry, Physics and Engineering of thermoelectric and other energy materials. His current research focuses on Thermoelectric Materials and Engineering of Thermoelectric Devices. Since joining JPL/Caltech in 1997, Dr. Snyder has been investigating novel thermoelectric materials including antimonide Zintl phases, such as Yb14MnSb11 and Zn4Sb3, Band Structure Engineering of thermoelectrics, Liquid-Like thermoelectric materials and nanostructured thermoelectric composites. He has developed new instruments for rapid hot pressing and high temperature thermal and electrical transport properties measurements of bulk materials. He has implemented novel empirical and analytical models for efficient power generation and cooling for both bulk and thin film devices. He has designed and tested elecrochemical MEMS micro-thermoelectric devices, portable power sources and energy harvesting systems for terrestrial and space applications. He has also participated as a consultant on a number of thermoelectric commercial projects. Jeff Snyder has over 300 publications on thermoelectric materials, devices and applications and distinguished as a Highly Cited Researcher (Thomson Reuters 2016). Jeff Snyder has been a board member and Treasurer for the International Thermoelectric Society. He has also been a Visiting Professor at SKKU University Korea, ITMO University Saint Petersburg, Wuhan University of Technology and the Shanghai Institute of Ceramics - Chinese Academy of Sciences.


Staff and Postdoctoral Scholars

image Umut Aydemir

Dr. Umut Aydemir received his B.Sc. at Koc University in Istanbul, Turkey and Ph.D. at Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids in Dresden, Germany studying synthesis and characterization of intermetallic clathrates with Prof. Yuri Grin. Currently he is a research associate investigating Sb-based Zintl phases for thermoelectrics.

YuPan Jun Peng (彭军)

Jun Peng, with Ph.Ds from U. Wisconsin Madison and South China University of Technology, is studying theoretical models and applications of triboelectric materials and devices.



Graduate Students


Stephen Stephen Dongmin Kang

Stephen, is studying novel thermoelectric materials and devices based on polymer and liquid like materials.

Sam Sam Miller

Sam, an NSF Fellow, is studying new materials for thermoelectric applications based on computational predictions.

Riley Riley Hanus

Riley is studying how heat transport is affected by microstructure.

MaxW Max Wood

Max is making new Zintl compounds for thermoelectric materials.

Shashwat Shashwat Anand

Having diploma from JNCASR, Bangalore Shashwat is performing first-principles DFT to understand the electronic properties and phase diagrams of thermoelectrics.

Ian Ian Witting

Ian is applying his industrial crystal growth experience to the preparation of single crystal thermoelectrics.

MaxD Max Dylla

Max is working on a NSF project to find new thermal and electronic materials.

Matthias Matthias Agne

Matthias is developing processes to improve state-of-the-art PbTe-based thermoelectric materials including doping and microstructure optimization.

Kazu Kazuki Imasato

Kazuki is studying novel Zintl compounds for n-type thermoelectrics.

YuPan Yu Pan (潘瑜)

Yu Pan, Ph.D student from Tsinghua University Beijing is studying nanostructured Bi2Te3 based materials.
Jimmy Jimmy 家宏 Kuo

Jimmy is looking for good descriptors of electronic band structures for high throughput calculations.

Xingyu Xingyu Guo (郭星宇)

Xingyu is a MS student performing DFT calculations to understand defects and structural changes in CoSb3 skutterudite.

Matthias Phineas

Phineas is chief technician for the in-house built processing and measurement equipment. While the equipment looks like it might be dangerous it works amazingly well

MaxD Ferb

Ferb likes to work with highly reactive pure elements at high temperatures. Ferb doesnt make any explosions or fires anymore but we do use a metal trash can just in case.

Matthias Isabella

Isabella runs virtual experiments. She can do many calculations but only settles on a result when Phineas and Ferb agree it matches the real experment



Saneyuki Shristi Dugar

Shristi is a MSE major making new Half Heusler thermoelectric compounds predicted by DFT.

Joint Students and Extended Visitors

GuoDong GuoDong Li (李国栋)

Guodong, visiting from Wuhan University of technology is calculating mechanical and electronic properties of thermoelectric materials using ab initio methods.
YuPan Lei Hu

Leu Hu, Ph.D student from University of Science and Technology Beijing with background in negative coefficient of thermal expanstion materials is studying complex structures with X-ray techniques.


Thermoelectrics at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory


Jean-Pierre Fleurial Jean-Pierre Fleurial, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Jean-Pierre Fleurial has been group supervisor of the Materials and Device Technologies group at JPL which includes the Thermoelectrics Team. Dr. Fleurial earned his Ph.D. in solid state physics and materials science from the National Polytechnique Institute of Lorraine, France, in 1988. During his Ph.D., he developed new growth techniques and theoretical models demonstrating that high quality single crystals of Bi2Te3 can have ZT values close to those usually achieved only with solid solutions. In 1988, Dr. Fleurial came to JPL as a National Research Council Resident Research Associate and joined the permanent staff in 1990. He was first involved with the optimization of Si-Ge alloys for thermoelectric power generation. He has calculated ternary and quaternary phase diagrams of Si-Ge alloys with dopants, and also performed diffusion and solid solubility studies, liquid phase epitaxial growth of Si-Ge. More recently, Dr. Fleurial has been actively involved with the study of novel promising thermoelectric materials, in particular compounds with the skutterudite structure. Dr. Fleurial has served on the board of the International Thermoelectric Society.


Thierry Caillat Thierry Caillat, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Thierry Caillat is a senior member of the technical staff at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology and task leader for the JPL Thermoelectrics Team. He received his Ph.D. in Materials Science in 1991 from the National Polytechnique Institute of Lorraine, France. He then received a National Research Council Fellowship to study new materials for thermoelectric applications at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He joined the permanent staff at JPL in 1994. His primary research interests have focused on the identification and development of new thermoelectric materials and devices. He has developed transport properties models to optimize these materials for thermoelectric applications. In the last five years, he has played a key role in identifying several families of thermoelectric materials with superior thermoelectric properties, including skutterudites and b-Zn4Sb3-based materials. More recently, he has been involved in the studies of the integration of some of these new materials into advanced, segmented unicouples with superior performance. He is the author of over 30 articles in refereed technical journals and over 40 articles in technical conference proceedings. Dr. Caillat holds two patents on new thermoelectric materials and has two patents pending on new thermoelectric devices. Dr. Caillat is chairman for the International Conference on Thermoelectrics in 2002 and has served on the International Advisory Board and Technical Program Committee of many International Conferences on Thermoelectrics since 1996. He has organized and chaired many sessions on thermoelectrics in various national and international conferences since 1993.


Sabah Bux Sabah Bux, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Sabah K. Bux received her Bachelors of Science in Chemistry, Magna Cum Laude from California State Polytechnic University Pomona in 2005. She joined UCLA in 2005 as a graduate student working with Professor Richard Kaner on nanostructured materials for thermoelectric applications and received her Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry in 2010. She has earned UCLA Edwin Pauley, NSF-IGERT, NASA-GSRP fellowships and was a NASA student ambassador. Currently she is technologist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the thermal energy conversion technologies group.

Jean-Pierre Fleurial Chen-Kuo Huang, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Chen-Kuo Huang received his B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering, National Tsing-Hua University (1978), M.S. in Materials Science and Engineering, National Tsing-Hua University (1980), and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering, Stanford University (1988). Dr. Huang is a senior member of the technical staff at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology.

Fivos DrymiotisFivos Drymiotis, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Dr. Drymiotis joined JPL in 2015 and the Caltech TE group in 2012.  Prior to his arrival at Caltech, he was a member of the faculty at Clemson University where he conducted his NSF funded research on the development of novel thermoelectric structures for power generation applications.  He received his Ph.D. in condensed matter physics (2002) from The Florida State University and was a Seaborg Institute postdoctoral fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory.  He is currently investigating the synthesis, structural and thermoelectric characterization of various chalcogenides, and of complex composites based on these compounds.


Former Members

Saneyuki Saneyuki Ohno Ph. D. 2017
Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Saneyuki, with fellowship from Japan student service organization (JASSO), developed phase boundary mapping to find new thermoelectric materials based on Zintl phases.

Miles Miles Kurtz

As a MSE undergrad Miles used Phase Boundary Mapping to find new thermoelectric Zintl materials.

Saneyuki Austin Walter

As a MSE undergrad Austin developed process engineering procedures for production of thermoelectric materials.

image Thomas Chasapis Postdoc 2015-16
Lumenari Inc
Dr. Thomas Chasapis studied at Northwestern jointly with Prof. Mercouri Kanatzidis for many years with speciality measuring optical properties and modeling thermoelectric materials.

Hyun-Sik Kim Hyun-Sik Kim Ph. D. 2016
Samsung Electronics
Hyun-Sik, a Samsung Fellow, studied advanced Bi2Te3 type materials for thermoelectrics.


Saurabh Tian-Ran Wei 魏天然 2015-16
Visiting Ph.D. Student from Tsinghua University Beijing
Tian-Ran studied polycrystalline SnSe thermoelectric materials.

Yinglu Tang Yinglu Tang Ph. D. 2015
EMPA-Swiss Federal Laboratory for Materials Science
Yinglu earned the 2016 Goldsmid award for her Ph.D. studies on the formation and optimization of skutterudite thermoelectric materials using phase diagrams.


Saurabh Saurabh Bajaj Ph.D. 2015
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Saurabh used DFT to calculate doping defects in thermoelectric semiconductors and use this to predict phase diagrams using the CALPHAD method.

Zach Gibbs Zach Gibbs Ph.D. 2015
Phillips 66
Zach studied the electronic structure of thermoelectrics and use of Diffuse Reflectance Infrared Spectroscopy for identifying band gaps in thermoelectric materials.
Tristan Day Tristan Day Ph. D. 2015
Tristan studied Cu and Ag chalcogenides, a new class of highly disordered thermoelectric materials.


Brett Kaufman CalPoly Pomona BS 2013-5

Brett worked on design and machining for prototype fabricatin, materials processing and measurement instrumentation.

Rochelle Weber Caltech BS 2015
Tesla Motors, Ph.D. Candidate
Rochelle synthesized and measuring thermoelectric properties of new Zintl Phase thermoelectric materials.

Sevan Chanakian, Caltech BS 2013-5
Sevan synthesized and measuring thermoelectric properties of new Zintl Phase thermoelectric materials

image Wolfgang Zeier Ph. D. 2013
Junior group leader at Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Wolfgang, was postdoc and a joint student from Mainz, Germany and Carl-Zeiss fellow. He studied selenides for thermoelectrics with a focus on the influence of structural aspects and doping.

Heng WangHeng Wang, Ph. D. 2014
Postdoc Berkeley Lab
Heng earned the 2014 Goldsmid award for his Ph.D. studies on the synthesis and optimization of Lead Selenide and Lead Telluride based thermoelectric materials with a focus on the effect of deformation potential in producing high efficiency materials.

HaiyangCheng-Chieh Li 2013-4 2015-6
ITRI Taiwan
A visiting Ph.D. student and postdoc from NTU Taipei, Cheng-Chieh Li studied metallization and mechanical properties for PbTe based thermoelectrics.

HaiyangHaiyang Xia (夏 海洋)

Haiyang, Ph.D. student from Tsinghua University, Beijing China studied metalization and bonding methodology for PbTe based thermoelectrics.
Nick Heinz Nick Heinz, Ph.D. 2014
Nick studied the synthesis, microstructure and optimization of properties for nanostructured and functionally graded thermoelectrics using directional solidification, zone leveling and TEM investigations.
David Brown David Brown Ph.D. 2014
Google X, ARPA-E Fellow, DOE
David studied Thermopower measurements and effects of phase transitions on thermoelectric properties.


NeffDavid Neff 2014

JPL Technician

David Neff works on instrumentation for electrical transport measurements.

Vilupanur Ravi Prof. Vilupanur Ravi
Professor of Materials Science, Cal Poly Pomona

Long time collaborator on mechanical properties and microstructure of thermoelectrics and composites

Teruyuki IkedaTeruyuki Ikeda Senior Scientist 2013
Professor of Materials Science, Ibaraki University
During the several years Teruyuki Ikeda conributed to the group he has been a PRESTO Researcher of Japan Science and Technology Agency. Dr. Teruyuki Ikeda recieved Dr. Eng. degree from Kyoto University (2000) for a study on thermodynamics, defects, and diffusion in intermetallic compounds. At Caltech he has been studied nanostructuring of bulk thermoelectric materials utilizing various sorts of phase transformations.

Alex Z. Williams Alex Zevalkink Williams Ph. D. 2013
Professor Michigan State University
Alex, a NSF Fellow, studyied the synthesis and doping of new thermoelectric Zintl phases, focusing on low-cost, earth abundant systems such as Ca5Al2Sb6 and Ca3AlSb3 based Zintl Phases. In 2013 she won the ITS Goldsmid Award.
image Yoshiki TAKAGIWA visiting Professor 2013
NIMS Japan
Dr. Takagiwa studies of quasicrystals for thermoelectric application and their defect distribution by positron annihilation spectroscopy. At Caltech, he has studied Zintl Phase thermoelectric materials and electronic calculations to understand thermoelectric alloys.

Gregory Pomrehn Gregory Pomrehn Ph.D. 2012
Research Engineer, Boeing.
Greg studied the phase stability of Zn-Sb phases from first principles thermodynamics and validating the results with experiments to detect the phase boundaries.

Yanzhong Pei Yanzhong Pei (裴艳中) Postdoctoral Scholar 2012
Professor of Materials Science, Tongji University
Yanzhong Pei earned the 2007 Goldsmid award for his Ph.D. research on filled CoSb3 Skuterudites at Shanghai Institute of Ceramics - CAS. As a Postdoctoral Scholar at Caltech he studied nano-structured composites and developed the concept of Band Engineering for PbTe based materials.

Hsin-Jay Wu Hsin-Jay Wu (吳欣潔) Joint Ph.D. Student 2012

Professor, National Sun-Yat-Sen University
Ph.D. at National Tsing-Hua University, Taiwan with National Science Council fellowship to study at Caltech. Hsin-jay studied the phase diagrams in the Pb-Ag-Sb-Te system to discover new thermoelectric microstructures.

Cao Xianlong Cao Visiting Scholar 2012

Lecturer, Chongqing University and China National Engineering Research Center for Magnesium Alloys.
At Caltech he studied lead telluride based thermoelectric materials.

Aaron Lalonde Aaron Lalonde Postdoctoral Scholar 2012
Research Engineer
At Caltech, Aaron developed a new Rapid Hot Press system as well as developed new processing techniques for thermoelectric materials.

Eric Toberer Eric Toberer Postdoctoral Scholar 2011
Professor of Physics, Colorado School of Mines
Eric S. Toberer was a Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Scholar at Caltech. Eric Studied a number of thermoelctric material systems related to Zintl Phases such as Yb14MnSb11, Clathrates, SrZn2Sb2, and Zn4Sb3. In 2011 he won the ITS Young Investigator Award

Shiho Iwanaga Shiho Iwanaga Postdoctoral Scholar 2011
Shiho Iwanaga was involved in the synthesis and characterization of thermoelectric materials, as well as design and building of scanning and bulk Seebeck measurement apparati for bulk and thin film samples.


Drew May Andrew (Drew) May, Ph. D. 2010
Staff Scientist, Oak Ridge National Lab
Drew studied the solid state physics of thermoelectric transport in a variety of materials including La3-xTe4. He was the recipiant of the 2010 Goldsmid Award and the Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prize for outstanding Ph.D. research.


Franck Gascoin Franck Gascoin, Postdoctoral Scholar 2005
Professor, CRISMAT Caen France
Franck studied the solid state chemistry of Zintl Phase thermoelectric materials.

Richard Blair (JPL postdoc), U. Central Florida
Jeff Sakamoto (JPL Staff), University of Michigan
Ali Saramat (postdoc)


Undergrad Researchers

Neal Bansal, Caltech 2011-2

Visiting Professors and Ph.D.

Han Li 李涵, Wuhan University of Technology, China (2013-6)
Wenhao Fan 樊文浩, Taiyuan University of Technology, China (2013-5)
Shaoping Chen 陈少平, Taiyuan University of Technology, China (2013-5)
Degang Zhao, University of Jinan, China (2014-5)
Guodong Li 李国栋, Wuhan University of Technology, China (2014-7)
Xingkai Duan, Jiujiang University, China (2013-4)
Cheng-Lung Chen, Institute of Physics, Taiwan (2013-4)
Zhigang Chen, University of Queensland, Australia (2013-4)
Min Zhou 周敏, Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry, China (2013)
Chia-Chan Hsu, ITRI, Taiwan (2013)
Jianli Wang, Southeast University, China (2012)
Zhigang Chen, University of Queensland, Australia (2012)
Sima Aminorroaya, University of Wallongong, Australia (2012)
Min Chen, Aalborg University, Denmark (2011)
Prof. Tiejun Zhu, Zhejiang University, China (2011)
Harald Fjeld, University of Oslo, Norway (2011)
Praveen Siwach, National Physical Laboratory, India (2011)
Prof. Hirokazu Tatsuoka (Visiting Faculty), Shizuoka University, Japan

Visiting Students

Estelle Sanz, Bordeaux, France (2014)
Jan-Hendrik Pöhls, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada (2014)​​
Christina Fraunhofer, LMU München, Germany (2014)​​
Jennifer Schmitt, Mainz University, Germany (2012-4)
Cheng-Chieh Li, National Taiwan University, Taiwan (2013-4)
Waruna P W D W, Aalborg University, Denmark (2013-4)
Jui-Shen Steven Chang 張睿紳, National Tsinghua University, Taiwan (2013)
Markus Nentwig, Leipzig University, Germany (2013)
Alexander Vargas, IPN University, Mexico (2013)
Stefan Maier, Leipzig/Munich University, Germany (2013)
Hanhui Xie, Zhejiang University, China (2013)
Ashoka Bali, Indian Institute of Science, India (2013)
Nelly Wirch, University Duisburg-Essen, Germany (2013)
Kasper Borup, Aarhus University, Denmark (2010-14)
Eugen Schechtel, Mainz University, Germany (2011)
Laura Haviez, ENSICAEN Caen, France (2011)
Maria Ibáñez i Sabaté, University Barcelona, Spain (2011)
Nils Kristiansen, Aalborg University, Denmark (2011)
Michael Böttger, University of Oslo, Norway (2010)
Tim Bleith, Mainz University, Germany (2010)
Espen Flage-Larsen, University of Oslo, Norway (2009)
Silvan Gariel, Ecole des Mines de Paris, France (2008)



Susan M. Kauslarich, U.C. Davis
Joseph Heremans, Ohio State University
Ken Kurosaki, Shinsuke Yamanaka, Osaka University, Japan
Douglas Medlin, Sandia Laboratories
Øystein Prytz, Johan Taftoe, University of Oslo, Norway
Svilen Bobev, U. Delaware, USA
Galen Stucky, UC Santa Barbara, USA
Eckhard Müller, German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Wolfgang Seifert, University of Halle, Germany
Raphael Hermann, University of Liege, Belgium; Jülich Germany
Andreu Cabot, Catalonia Institute for Energy Research, Spain
Christophe Goupil, ENSICAEN Caen, France
Xinfeng Tang, Wuhan University of Technology, China
Lidong Chen, Xun Shi, SIC-CAS Shanghai, China
Bo Brummerstedt Iversen, University Aarhus, Denmark
Chris Dames, U.C. Berkeley

Prag Batra, Harker High School, California


Funding Sponsors