PerspectiveTHERMOELECTRIC MATERIALS

Holey and Unholey Semiconductors

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Science  05 Feb 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5403, pp. 804-805
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5403.804

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Summary

Thermoelectric materials, which have applications in refrigeration and power generation, are experiencing a surge in research activity. Many different materials are investigated with the goal of maximizing electrical conductivity while minimizing thermal conductivity, which is required for good thermoelectric performance. Only recently was a 30-year deadlock in thermoelectric performance overcome. Predictions for the new materials suggest that important further improvements are on the horizon, with promising applications in the computer and other high-tech industries.