With over 90% energy utilization going through heat, effective management of thermal energy in terms of transfer, conversion, and storage is critical for a sustainable energy future. Recent advances in materials science open up tremendous opportunities towards this goal. For example, in emerging low dimensional materials, structural length scales overlap with the intrinsic physical length scales (such as the mean free paths and wavelengths of the principal energy carriers, like as phonons, electrons, fluid particles, and photons) leading to significant modifications of thermal transport mechanisms. In addition, other factors such as structure, interfaces, and composition also play critical roles. With progress in understanding and controlling the absorption and emission of radiation from surfaces, various forms of thermal energy conversion, such as solar steam generation and thermophotovoltaics, have also been heavily investigated. Enhanced thermal energy storage, e.g., through phase change materials, is also of great interest.
The goal of this symposium is to create a forum to bridge fundamental research in materials and physics with applications in thermal science and engineering. The aim of this symposium is to provide a venue for fruitful interaction and exchange of ideas. It will also educate students and researchers nationally and globally in this important field of thermal energy.