The workshop Frontiers in Thermal Transport and Energy Conversion was held April 11, 2019, in Washington, D.C. (see Appendix A, “Workshop Agenda”). Organized by the Condensed Matter and Materials Research Committee (CMMRC) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the event brought together speakers and attendees representing industry, academia, and government agencies (see Appendix B, “Workshop Participants,” and Appendix C, “Speaker and Planning Committee Biographies”).
Aharon Kapitulnik, Stanford University, thanked CMMRC’s sponsors, the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation, and offered welcoming remarks outlining the workshop’s context and purpose. Beginning with the study of heat conduction and heat diffusion, the field of thermal transport can trace its roots back at least 200 years, Kapitulnik noted. In the 1820s, before Ohm’s law of resistance was published, Thomas Johann Seebeck discovered a proportional relationship between temperature and voltage, now known as the Seebeck coefficient.1 Shortly after that, Joseph Fourier published his work on heat flow.2
Thermal transport and energy conversion remains an active field offering opportunities for new discoveries and applications. By providing a venue for in-depth talks and open discussion, the workshop was designed to surface key challenges,
1 T.J. Seebeck, 1822, Über den Magnetismus der galvanischen Kette, Abhandlungen der physikalischen Klasse der Königlisch-Preußsischen. Akademie der Wissenschaften aus den Jahren 1820-1821: 289-346.
2 J. Fourier, 1822, Théorie analytique de la chaleur, Paris: Firmin Didot Père et Fils.
opportunities, and issues in the field. The hope, Kapitulnik said, is that these discussions will enable participants to gain an understanding of new concepts and also help guide where energy and investments should be directed in order to advance this exciting branch of science.
The workshop was unclassified and open to the public. This report offers a condensed summary of the proceedings based on recordings, slides, and transcripts.