System level management, consisting of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs), defines complexity, total cost, weight, total packaged energy and power density requirements for the technologies emerging from the lower level research efforts. The system level’s market expertise will help guide the development of enabling technologies and the direction of fundamental research. This structure facilitates a rapid translation of technology from the lab to the market, enhancing the competitiveness of POETS’s industry partners and increasing the impact of POETS’s activities on the economy.
Guided by system level metrics, the enabling technologies component will drive development of the building blocks of advanced 3D power systems. The enabling technologies include thermal diodes that route thermal energy flow similar to routing electrical power. Additionally, novel 3D power systems such as generators or inverters will be designed, fabricated, and tested with a goal of achieving POETS benchmark levels of electro-thermal power density. In addition to driving fundamental technological breakthroughs, the activities guided by the enabling technologies component will be suitable for postdoctoral and graduate level education and for undergraduate researchers performing component testing and evaluation.
Fundamental research provides insight into closing the gaps identified at the enabling technologies level, including the creation of complex material systems enabling simultaneous monitoring and control of electrical and thermal power flows as well as conversion between power domains. The design and fabrication of complex 3D power systems will require new paradigms in power electronics and thermal devices. An example of a fundamental effort includes understanding the barriers impeding the development of new 3D integrated electrical and thermal power routing, based on novel materials and their processing (graphene, SiC, GaN) and topologically optimized architectures for compact and integrated high power systems. Novel thermal routing channels at the micro- and nano-scale will be developed for passive and active thermal management. The self-sensing and self-configuring materials systems will perform the passive aspect and integrated controls will perform the active aspect. Throughout, system optimization tools will create design budgets and tradeoffs to determine what combinations of electrical and thermal power can flow best within a constrained 3D environment.