When power factor supersedes zT to determine power in a thermocouple

Duncan Zavanelli, Alexander Pröschel, Joshua Winograd, Radion Cherkez, G. Jeffrey Snyder*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The primary material parameter determining power in a thermoelectric is the figure of merit zT. This figure of merit comes from the requirement for thermal impedance matching between the thermoelectric legs and heat exchangers in an optimally designed thermoelectric module. However, in a thermocouple temperature sensor, the geometry is constrained for temperature sensing. If the geometry is constrained so that the length of the thermoelectric elements is greater than a characteristic length, then the material thermal conductivity becomes less relevant. This makes the power factor the determining material metric for power output in such a device designed for temperature sensing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number115101
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 21 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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