TY - JOUR

T1 - The best thermoelectric

AU - Mahan, G. D.

AU - Sofo, J. O.

PY - 1996/7/23

Y1 - 1996/7/23

N2 - What electronic structure provides the largest figure of merit for thermoelectric materials? To answer that question, we write the electrical conductivity, thermopower, and thermal conductivity as integrals of a single function, the transport distribution. Then we derive the mathematical function for the transport distribution, which gives the largest figure of merit. A delta-shaped transport distribution is found to maximize the thermoelectric properties. This result indicates that a narrow distribution of the energy of the electrons participating in the transport process is needed for maximum thermoelectric efficiency. Some possible realizations of this idea are discussed.

AB - What electronic structure provides the largest figure of merit for thermoelectric materials? To answer that question, we write the electrical conductivity, thermopower, and thermal conductivity as integrals of a single function, the transport distribution. Then we derive the mathematical function for the transport distribution, which gives the largest figure of merit. A delta-shaped transport distribution is found to maximize the thermoelectric properties. This result indicates that a narrow distribution of the energy of the electrons participating in the transport process is needed for maximum thermoelectric efficiency. Some possible realizations of this idea are discussed.

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U2 - 10.1073/pnas.93.15.7436

DO - 10.1073/pnas.93.15.7436

M3 - Article

C2 - 11607692

AN - SCOPUS:0029798050

VL - 93

SP - 7436

EP - 7439

JO - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

JF - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

SN - 0027-8424

IS - 15

ER -