Enhanced thermoelectric efficiency near a conductivity threshold

Glen D. Guttman*, Eshel Ben-Jacob, David J. Bergman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


We calculate the thermopower and efficiency of the thermoelectric effect in systems which have a conductivity threshold (as function of the electronic energy). For example, disordered metals near the mobility edge (i.e., at the metal-insulator transition). Near such a threshold the thermopower and thermoelectric efficiency (i.e, figure of merit) are enhanced. The figure of merit ZT can be made much larger than unity, however at the price of low power output. In the presence of minimal lattice heat conductivity we calculate ZT to approximately 6 near the threshold. The enhancement effect is universal in the sense that it ensues from a competition between two physical mechanisms which sustain the steady-state thermopower. Any system that exhibits an electrical conductivity threshold and low lattice thermal conductivity is a good candidate for observing such an enhancement.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages5
StatePublished - 1997
EventProceedings of the 1997 16th International Conference on Thermoelectrics, ICT'97 - Dresden, Ger
Duration: 26 Aug 199729 Aug 1997


ConferenceProceedings of the 1997 16th International Conference on Thermoelectrics, ICT'97
CityDresden, Ger


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