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Title: The maximum possible conversion efficiency of silicon-germanium thermoelectric generators

Abstract

The thermoelectric properties of {ital N}-type and {ital P}-type Si-Ge alloys have been reviewed and detailed calculations for the efficiency of a thermoelectric generator made from a 70% Si-30% Ge alloy have been made over the temperature range from 300 to 1300 K. A model employing one valence band and two conduction bands has been used. A generator of standard material, optimally doped, and infinitely segmented will have an efficiency of 12.1% operating over this range. If the lattice thermal conductivity can be reduced to its minimum value without upsetting the electrical properties, then the efficiency can be raised to an ultimate maximum of 23.3%. A more modest increase in efficiency to 14.7% could be obtained by a 2.4 volume percent of finely dispersed second-phase precipitates which would act as phonon scatterers. The utility/futility of GaP additions and grain-boundary scattering as methods to increase the efficiency is discussed.

Authors:
;  [1]
  1. General Electric R D Center, Schenectady, New York (USA)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
5350772
DOE Contract Number:  
AC03-86SF16006
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Journal of Applied Physics; (United States)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 70:5; Journal Issue: 5; Journal ID: ISSN 0021-8979
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
30 DIRECT ENERGY CONVERSION; 36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; GERMANIUM ALLOYS; THERMOELECTRIC PROPERTIES; SILICON ALLOYS; THERMOELECTRIC GENERATORS; EFFICIENCY; GRAIN BOUNDARIES; HIGH TEMPERATURE; MEDIUM TEMPERATURE; N-TYPE CONDUCTORS; P-TYPE CONDUCTORS; ALLOYS; CRYSTAL STRUCTURE; DIRECT ENERGY CONVERTERS; ELECTRICAL PROPERTIES; MATERIALS; MICROSTRUCTURE; PHYSICAL PROPERTIES; SEMICONDUCTOR MATERIALS; NESDPS Office of Nuclear Energy Space and Defense Power Systems; 300303* - Thermoelectric Generators- Materials, Components, & Auxiliaries; 360603 - Materials- Properties

Citation Formats

Slack, G A, and Hussain, M A. The maximum possible conversion efficiency of silicon-germanium thermoelectric generators. United States: N. p., 1991. Web. doi:10.1063/1.349385.
Slack, G A, & Hussain, M A. The maximum possible conversion efficiency of silicon-germanium thermoelectric generators. United States. doi:10.1063/1.349385.
Slack, G A, and Hussain, M A. Sun . "The maximum possible conversion efficiency of silicon-germanium thermoelectric generators". United States. doi:10.1063/1.349385.
@article{osti_5350772,
title = {The maximum possible conversion efficiency of silicon-germanium thermoelectric generators},
author = {Slack, G A and Hussain, M A},
abstractNote = {The thermoelectric properties of {ital N}-type and {ital P}-type Si-Ge alloys have been reviewed and detailed calculations for the efficiency of a thermoelectric generator made from a 70% Si-30% Ge alloy have been made over the temperature range from 300 to 1300 K. A model employing one valence band and two conduction bands has been used. A generator of standard material, optimally doped, and infinitely segmented will have an efficiency of 12.1% operating over this range. If the lattice thermal conductivity can be reduced to its minimum value without upsetting the electrical properties, then the efficiency can be raised to an ultimate maximum of 23.3%. A more modest increase in efficiency to 14.7% could be obtained by a 2.4 volume percent of finely dispersed second-phase precipitates which would act as phonon scatterers. The utility/futility of GaP additions and grain-boundary scattering as methods to increase the efficiency is discussed.},
doi = {10.1063/1.349385},
journal = {Journal of Applied Physics; (United States)},
issn = {0021-8979},
number = 5,
volume = 70:5,
place = {United States},
year = {1991},
month = {9}
}