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Our Aim

Our goal is to find and characterize new materials for thermoelectric applications. In particular we want to find a material that is better than the ones currently used for thermoelectric cooling at room temperature. It's not easy, but we believe that it can be done. This research is definately a high risk, high payoff venture.

Our Challenges

Maximizing ZT requires optimizing the Seebeck coefficient, resistivity and thermal conductivity simultaneously. This is no small feat since each of these properties depends on the electronic structure of the material. In fact, decreasing the resistivity often decreases the Seebeck coefficient. So tradeoffs must be made when trying to optimize the properties of a material, by doping or alloying for example. The best thermoelectric at room temperature is actually a heavily doped alloy of Sb2Te3 and Bi2Te3

Our research focuses mainly on searching for new compounds with enhanced thermoelectric properties, rather than modification of known materials. We try to "build in" the properties we want by using combinations of elements and starting materials that we hope will produce good thermoelectrics.

The work can be divided into two main parts, searching for new materials (synthesis) and measuring their thermoelectric properties (characterization).

Click the links below to look at each section more closely.