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Thermoelectric properties and performance of flexible reduced graphene oxide films up to 3,000 K

Abstract

The development of ultrahigh-temperature thermoelectric materials could enable thermoelectric topping of combustion power cycles as well as extending the range of direct thermoelectric power generation in concentrated solar power. However, thermoelectric operation temperatures have been restricted to under 1,500 K due to the lack of suitable materials. Here, we demonstrate a thermoelectric conversion material based on high-temperature reduced graphene oxide nanosheets that can perform reliably up to 3,000 K. After a reduction treatment at 3,300 K, the nanosheet film exhibits an increased conductivity to ~4,000 S cm−1 at 3,000 K and a high power factor S2σ = 54.5 µW cm−1 K−2. We report measurements characterizing the film’s thermoelectric properties up to 3,000 K. The reduced graphene oxide film also exhibits a high broadband radiation absorbance and can act as both a radiative receiver and a thermoelectric generator. The printable, lightweight and flexible film is attractive for system integration and scalable manufacturing.

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Fig. 1: High-temperature operation of TE RGO.
Fig. 2: High-temperature operation capabilities of HT-RGO films.
Fig. 3: TE voltage by radiative heating.
Fig. 4: Seebeck coefficient measurement and thermal conductivity measurement.
Fig. 5: Performance of the 3,300 K RGO film as a TE generator.

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Acknowledgements

We acknowledge the Dean’s support from the University of Maryland, which was used to set up our experimental equipment. The constructive discussions with J. P. Heremans as well as use of the probe station in A. Shakouri’s laboratory to measure room-temperature thermal conductivity were greatly appreciated. A.D.P. acknowledges the support provided by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. S.D.L. acknowledges the support by the Department of Defense (DoD) through the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship Program. M.S.F. is supported by an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship.

Authors contributions

T.L., D.H.D. and L.H. conceived the idea. T.L., Y.Y., Y.C., S.D.L., Y.L., J.D. and Y.W. contributed to material preparation and characterization. A.D.P., Y.Z., C.D., A.M., T.L. and B.Y. contributed to the characterization and analysis of thermal properties. T.L., Y.W., M.S.F. and D.H.D. contributed to the characterization and analysis of electrical properties. All authors contributed to writing.

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Correspondence to Dennis H. Drew or Liangbing Hu.

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Supplementary Discussion 1–6 and Supplementary Figure 1–13

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Li, T., Pickel, A.D., Yao, Y. et al. Thermoelectric properties and performance of flexible reduced graphene oxide films up to 3,000 K. Nat Energy 3, 148–156 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41560-018-0086-3

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