Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Materials science

Desperately seeking silicon

A Correction to this article was published on 16 January 2008

Using silicon as a 'thermoelectric' material to convert heat into electricity would be a technological leap forward. But silicon conducts heat so well that nobody thought that could work — until now.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Prices vary by article type



Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout


  1. Crabtree, G. W. & Lewis, N. S. Phys. Today 60 (3), 37–42 (2007).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Telkes, M. J. Appl. Phys. 18, 1116–1127 (1947).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Boukai, A. I. et al. Nature 451, 168–171 (2008).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Hochbaum, A. I. et al. Nature 451, 163–167 (2008).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Venkatasubramanian, R., Siivola, E., Colpitts, T. & O'Quinn, B. Nature 413, 597–602 (2001).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Slack, G. A. in Solid State Physics Ser. 34 (eds Ehrenreich, H., Seitz, F. & Turnbull, D.) 1–71 (Academic, New York, 1979).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Vining, C. Desperately seeking silicon. Nature 451, 132–133 (2008).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing