achitecture of IFW, skyway in the courtyard


Thermoelectric expert comes to IFW Dresden with Humboldt Prize

Prof. Dr. Zhifeng Ren from University of Houston, Texas, uses a Research Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for a research stay at IFW Dresden.

A renowned expert in the field of thermoelectric materials comes to a research stay at the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research Dresden (IFW). It is Prof. Dr. Zhifeng Ren from the University of Houston in Texas, USA, who will use the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research Award to collaborate with his scientific host, Prof. Dr. Kornelius Nielsch to enhance the field of thermoelectric materials.

Two months ago, Zhifeng Ren has been named director of the Texas Center for Superconductivity at the University of Houston. He has made a name for himself as a highly innovative materials researcher with pioneering work and innovations in many fields of materials research. His reputation for cutting-edge research in a variety of fields includes work in high-temperature superconductivity, carbon nanotubes and high-performance thermoelectric materials. His credo is that new knowledge needs to improve people's lives. Therefore, his goal is not only to gain knowledge, but always includes the innovation. For example, he has developed a process that can be used to recover electricity from waste heat using thermoelectric materials. If such materials are integrated into the exhaust system of combustion engines, a part of the otherwise unused waste heat from the engine is converted into electricity. In this way, energy efficiency can be increased and greenhouse gas emissions significantly reduced. Thermoelectrics will also be the topic of cooperation with the IFW Dresden. The focus is on new fabrication techniques for thermoelectric nanomaterials as well as the search for new thermoelectric materials. In addition to the work in thermoelectrics, he also intends to work on superconductivity both electrically and thermally, water splitting for hydrogen and oxygen generation by inventing new catalysts, and two-dimensional materials for energy related applications.  

Every year, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation awards up to 100 research awards to renowned scientists from all over the world for research stays in Germany. The prize is endowed with 60,000 euros. The award winners are invited to conduct self-selected research projects in cooperation with colleagues in German institutions.

Zhifeng Ren, Photo: privat

Zhifeng Ren, Photo: privat