MSc thesis project proposal

[2023-24] Thermoelectric GaN Energy Harvester for Cryogenic Environments


GaN is an exciting material due to its wide bandgap, which enables high power devices, high temperature operation, and interesting transduction mechanisms. In particular, it outperforms silicon in space environments as a sensor element. Recently, it has been shown that a unique property of GaN enables a high seebeck effect that could be used for thermoelectric energy harvesting at cryogenic temperatures. It’s been proposed that a 1 mW output is possible in 1x1cm area. This would enable self-power sensing in harsh environments for planetary exploration and micro satellites. Since the material has been well-characterized, the next step is physical system development for sensor-powering applications.


Project Tasks

There are 2 MSc thesis positions available for this synergy project:

(a)   Thermoelectric harvester development. In this project, you will

  • simulate the thermoelectric device with target power output of 1 mW.
  • fabricate energy harvesters and assemble using Kavli and EKL.
  • do device characterizations.

(b)  Power extraction IC development. In this project, you will

  • develop an energy conversion topology to extract energy harvested by GaN thermoelectrics.
  • design associated circuit architecture and blocks.
  • tape out the designed chip, which is not a must, but encouraged.

Students who are interested in (a) should contact Dr. Karen Dowling and those interested in (b) should contact Dr. Sijun Du.


If interested, peruse the following documents:

Physics of cryogenic GaN thermoelectrics

Thermoelectric IC Example 


dr. Karen Dowling

Electronic Instrumentation Group

Department of Microelectronics

Last modified: 2023-09-13