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Title: A practical field guide to thermoelectrics: Fundamentals, synthesis, and characterization

The study of thermoelectric materials spans condensed matter physics, materials science and engineering, and solid-state chemistry. The diversity of the participants and the inherent complexity of the topic mean that it is difficult, if not impossible, for a researcher to be fluent in all aspects of the field. This review, which grew out of a one-week summer school for graduate students, aims to provide an introduction and practical guidance for selected conceptual, synthetic, and characterization approaches and to craft a common umbrella of language, theory, and experimental practice for those engaged in the field of thermoelectric materials. This work does not attempt to cover all major aspects of thermoelectric materials research or review state-of-the-art thermoelectric materials. Rather, the topics discussed herein reflect the expertise and experience of the authors. We begin by discussing a universal approach to modeling electronic transport using Landauer theory. The core sections of the review are focused on bulk inorganic materials and include a discussion of effective strategies for powder and single crystal synthesis, the use of national synchrotron sources to characterize crystalline materials, error analysis, and modeling of transport data using an effective mass model, and characterization of phonon behavior using inelastic neutron scattering andmore » ultrasonic speed of sound measurements. The final core section discusses the challenges faced when synthesizing carbon-based samples and the measuring or interpretation of their transport properties. We conclude this review with a brief discussion of some of the grand challenges and opportunities that remain to be addressed in the study of thermoelectrics.« less
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  1. Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI (United States). Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Dept.
  2. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States). Chemistry and Nanoscience Center
  3. Univ. of California, Santa Barbara, CA (United States). Materials Dept.
  4. Duke Univ., Durham, NC (United States). Dept. of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science; Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Materials Science and Technology Division
  5. Iowa State Univ., Ames, IA (United States). Dept. of Chemistry; Ames Lab., Ames, IA (United States)
  6. National Inst. of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, MD (United States)
  7. SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States). Applied Energy Programs
  8. Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT (United States). Materials Science and Engineering
  9. Northwestern Univ., Evanston, IL (United States). Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering
  10. Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO (United States). Dept. of Physics
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1931-9401
Grant/Contract Number:
AC02-76SF00515; 1651668; 1334713; 1709158; 1729487; AC36-08GO28308; FG02-09ER46577; SC0001299; SC0008931; SC0016390
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Applied Physics Reviews
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 5; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 1931-9401
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
Research Org:
SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States); National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States); Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22) Materials Sciences & Engineering Division; USDOE Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Program; National Science Foundation (NSF); Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States). Solid-State Solar-Thermal Energy Conversion Center (S3TEC)
Country of Publication:
United States
75 CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS, SUPERCONDUCTIVITY AND SUPERFLUIDITY; 36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; 42 ENGINEERING; 37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL, AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; electronic transport; ultrasonics; phonons; materials science; synchrotrons; acoustical measurements; neutron scattering
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1457477