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Title: Microminiature thermionic converters

Abstract

Microminiature thermionic converts (MTCs) having high energy-conversion efficiencies and variable operating temperatures. Methods of manufacturing those converters using semiconductor integrated circuit fabrication and micromachine manufacturing techniques are also disclosed. The MTCs of the invention incorporate cathode to anode spacing of about 1 micron or less and use cathode and anode materials having work functions ranging from about 1 eV to about 3 eV. Existing prior art thermionic converter technology has energy conversion efficiencies ranging from 5-15%. The MTCs of the present invention have maximum efficiencies of just under 30%, and thousands of the devices can be fabricated at modest costs.

Inventors:
 [1];  [2];  [3]
  1. Albuquerque, NM
  2. Salt Lake City, UT
  3. Clairton, PA
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
SANDIA CORP
OSTI Identifier:
874018
Patent Number(s):
US 6294858
Application Number:
09/257,335
Assignee:
Sandia Corporation (Albuquerque, NM)
DOE Contract Number:  
AC04-96AL85000
Resource Type:
Patent
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
microminiature; thermionic; converters; converts; mtcs; energy-conversion; efficiencies; variable; operating; temperatures; methods; manufacturing; semiconductor; integrated; circuit; fabrication; micromachine; techniques; disclosed; incorporate; cathode; anode; spacing; micron; materials; functions; ranging; existing; prior; converter; technology; energy; conversion; 5-15; maximum; 30; thousands; devices; fabricated; modest; costs; circuit fabrication; conversion efficiencies; thermionic converter; anode materials; anode material; energy conversion; integrated circuit; operating temperature; operating temperatures; manufacturing techniques; modest cost; semiconductor integrated; microminiature thermionic; /310/

Citation Formats

King, Donald B, Sadwick, Laurence P, and Wernsman, Bernard R. Microminiature thermionic converters. United States: N. p., 2001. Web.
King, Donald B, Sadwick, Laurence P, & Wernsman, Bernard R. Microminiature thermionic converters. United States.
King, Donald B, Sadwick, Laurence P, and Wernsman, Bernard R. Tue . "Microminiature thermionic converters". United States. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/874018.
@article{osti_874018,
title = {Microminiature thermionic converters},
author = {King, Donald B and Sadwick, Laurence P and Wernsman, Bernard R},
abstractNote = {Microminiature thermionic converts (MTCs) having high energy-conversion efficiencies and variable operating temperatures. Methods of manufacturing those converters using semiconductor integrated circuit fabrication and micromachine manufacturing techniques are also disclosed. The MTCs of the invention incorporate cathode to anode spacing of about 1 micron or less and use cathode and anode materials having work functions ranging from about 1 eV to about 3 eV. Existing prior art thermionic converter technology has energy conversion efficiencies ranging from 5-15%. The MTCs of the present invention have maximum efficiencies of just under 30%, and thousands of the devices can be fabricated at modest costs.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2001},
month = {9}
}

Patent:

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