Review abstract

Nature Materials 7, 105 - 114 (2008)

Subject Categories: Electronic materials | Materials for energy

Complex thermoelectric materials

G. Jeffrey Snyder1 & Eric S. Toberer1

Thermoelectric materials, which can generate electricity from waste heat or be used as solid-state Peltier coolers, could play an important role in a global sustainable energy solution. Such a development is contingent on identifying materials with higher thermoelectric efficiency than available at present, which is a challenge owing to the conflicting combination of material traits that are required. Nevertheless, because of modern synthesis and characterization techniques, particularly for nanoscale materials, a new era of complex thermoelectric materials is approaching. We review recent advances in the field, highlighting the strategies used to improve the thermopower and reduce the thermal conductivity.

  1. Materials Science, California Institute of Technology, 1200 East California Boulevard, Pasadena, California 91125, USA

Correspondence to: G. Jeffrey Snyder1 e-mail:


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