High performance bulk thermoelectrics via a panoscopic approach

Jiaqing He*, Mercouri G. Kanatzidis, Vinayak P. Dravid

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

339 Scopus citations


One of the intellectual challenges for next generation thermoelectric materials revolves around the synthesis and fabrication of hierarchically organized microstructures that do not appreciably compromise the innate high power factor of the chosen thermoelectric system, but significantly reduce lattice thermal conductivity to enhance the overall figure of merit, ZT. An effective emerging strategy is to introduce nanostructures into bulk thermoelectric materials, which allow for diverse phonon scattering mechanisms to reduce thermal conductivity. In this review, we present key examples to show the intricate but tractable relationship across all relevant length-scales between various microstructural attributes (point, line, interfacial and mesoscale defects; as well as associated elastic and plastic strain) and lattice thermal conductivity in systems based on PbTe matrices. We emphasize the need for an overarching panoscopic approach that enables specific design strategies for the next generation of thermoelectric materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-176
Number of pages11
JournalMaterials Today
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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