Thermoelectric materials offer ways to transform heat to electrical energy and vice versa. Here, the authors tailor the architecture of a bulk thermoelectric material, the semiconductor lead telluride, to maximize thermoelectric performance. They achieve phonon scattering on three different length scales. Atomic-scale doping, nanometer-scale endotaxial precipitation and mesoscale grain-boundary structures were introduced to the material to drastically reduce its thermal conductivity and subsequently achieve a very high thermoelectric figure of merit. These advances could aid in the design of advanced thermoelectric materials that can be used to recover waste heat.
Recent Hot Topics
Sign up for Nature Research e-alerts to get the lastest research in your inbox every week.