Thermoelectric is a key technology for energy harvesting and solid-state cooling by direct thermal-to-electric energy conversion (or vice versa); however, the relatively low efficiency has limited thermoelectric systems to niche applications such as space power generation and small-scale or high-density cooling. To expand into larger scale power generation and cooling applications such as ATEG (automotive thermoelectric generators) and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), high-performance bulk thermoelectric materials and their low-cost processing are essential prerequisites. Recently, the performance of commercial thermoelectric materials including Bi2Te3-, PbTe-, skutterudite-, and half-Heusler-based compounds has been significantly improved through non-equilibrium processing technologies for defect engineering. This review summarizes material design approaches for the formation of multi-dimensional and multi-scale defect structures that can be used to manipulate both the electronic and thermal transport properties, and our recent progress in the synthesis of conventional thermoelectric materials with defect structures is described.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ceramics and Composites