Enhancement of thermoelectric figure-of-merit by a nanostructure approach

Z. F. Ren, B. Poudel, Y. Ma, Q. Hao, Y. C. Lan, A. Minnich, A. Muto, J. Yang, B. Yu, X. Yan, D. Z. Wang, J. M. Liu, M. S. Dresselhaus, G. Chen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

The dimensionless thermoelectric figure-of-merit (ZT) in bulk materials has remained about 1 for many years. Here we show that a significant ZT improvement can be achieved in nanocrystalline bulk materials. These nanocrystalline bulk materials were made by hot- pressing nanopowders that are ball-milled from either crystalline ingots or elements. Electrical transport measurements, coupled with microstructure studies and modeling, show that the ZT improvement is the result of low thermal conductivity caused by the increased phonon scattering by grain boundaries and defects. More importantly, the nanostructure approach has been demonstrated in a few thermoelectric material systems, proving its generosity. The approach can be easily scaled up to multiple tons. Thermal stability studies have shown that the nanostructures are stable at the application temperature for an extended period of time. It is expected that such enhanced materials will make the existing cooling and power generation systems more efficient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMaterials and Devices for Thermal-to-Electric Energy Conversion
PublisherMaterials Research Society
Pages83-93
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781605111391
DOIs
StatePublished - 2009
Event2009 MRS Spring Meeting: Materials and Devices for Thermal-to-Electric Energy Conversion - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: Apr 13 2009Apr 17 2009

Publication series

NameMaterials Research Society Symposium Proceedings
Volume1166
ISSN (Print)0272-9172

Other

Other2009 MRS Spring Meeting: Materials and Devices for Thermal-to-Electric Energy Conversion
CountryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA
Period4/13/094/17/09

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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