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How to Find Better Thermoelectric Materials

David J. Singh (Oak Ridge National Labs, USA)
Thu, 26/09/2013 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
S13-M01-11 (Physics Conference Room)
Su Ying Quek
Event Type: 

There is no known thermodynamic or other fundamental physical principle that limits the possible values of the thermoelectric figure of merit, ZT. However, thermoelectric performance requires combinations of materials properties that do not normally occur together, for example, high thermopower combined with high conductivity and high carrier mobility with low lattice thermal conductivity. As a result, high thermoelectric performance is typically found not in materials that follow standard text-book behavior, but in materials with unusual features such as highly non-parabolic or other complex band structures, proximity to lattice instabilities, unusual bonding, etc. In this presentation we discuss different ways of obtaining high ZT along with materials examples and also suggest new directions and possible realizations of them.


This work was supported by the Department of Energy through the S3TEC Energy Frontier Research Center.

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