Superlattice nanowire heat engines with direction-dependent power output and heat current

David M.T. Kuo, Yia Chung Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Heat engines (HEs) made of low dimensional structures offer promising applications in energy harvesting due to their reduced phonon thermal conductance. Many efforts have been devoted to the design of HEs made of quantum-dot (QD) superlattice nanowire (SLNW), but only SLNWs with uniform energy levels in QDs were considered. Here we propose a HE made of SLNW with staircase-like QD energy levels. The asymmetrical alignment of energy levels of quantum dots embedded in nanowires can be controlled to allow resonant electron transport under forward temperature bias, while they are in off-resonant regime under reverse temperature bias. Under such a mechanism, the power output and efficiency of such a SLNW are better than SLNWs with uniform QD energy levels. The SLNW HE has direction-dependent power output and heat current. In addition, the HE has the functionality of a heat diode with impressive negative differential thermal conductance under open circuit condition.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113671
JournalPhysica E: Low-Dimensional Systems and Nanostructures
StatePublished - Jan 2020


  • Heat diode
  • Heat engine
  • Quantum dots
  • Superlattice nanowires


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