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Recent developments in thermoelectric materials and applications

Rapid progress has been made worldwide in both application and fundamental understanding of thermoelectric materials, including testing of prototype thermoelectric generators, and discovery of topological invariants that has set off an intense search for new materials with higher figure of merit. This symposium will cover recent developments.


Recently, rapid progress has been made worldwide in discovery, fundamental understanding, and applications of thermoelectric materials. For example, prototype thermoelectric power generators have been tested in commercial vehicles; thermoelectric figure of merit – a key factor measuring thermoelectric materials’ performance – has been doubled; discovery of topological invariances in the electronic structures of many well-known thermoelectric materials has set off an intense search for new materials with even higher figure of merit. However, challenges remain to increase overall thermoelectric performance for applications and to correlate interplay between structure, electronic and lattice properties in these materials on micro-, meso-, and nanoscales for understanding the electron and phonon transport mechanism. This symposium will cover recent developments in the following areas: 1) processing of thermoelectric materials (bulk, thin film, heterostructures, and nanocomposites) including new routes, such as combustive and explosive methods recently demonstrated; 2) improved performance via electronic and lattice optimization, in particular the recent advances in electrical and thermal transports in complex compounds and nano-composite materials and associated physical measurements providing in-depth characterization of those properties; 3) a new direction in topological thermoelectric materials research, particularly in understanding unconventional thermoelectricity in Dirac/Weyl semimetals and prospect in harness the power of electronic topology for exceptional performance; 4) Development and status of applications, and associated materials science drivers and issues will be addressed.

Hot topics to be covered by the symposium:

  • Synthesis and nanostructure, including (a) de-construction of practical thermoelectric modules to solve problems; (b) basic requirements for modules made from emerging materials
  • Unconventional thermoelectricity in topological materials, including Dirac/Weyl semimetals, Nernst effect, and thermal Hall effects
  • Phonon and electron transport properties: (a) intrinsic behavior within grains, crystals, and oriented films; (b) anisotropy; (c) electron correlation; (d) interface properties
  • Novel synthesis routes, atomic layer control, self-assembly, combustive and explosive methods
  • Waste-heat recovery, energy harvest, refrigeration, and other applications


Selected papers will be published in the journal "Science and Technology Advanced Materials" (IOP).

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Symposium organizers

ENSICAEN/CRISMAT Laboratory, 6, Boulevard du Maréchal Juin, 14050 Caen Cedex 4, France

+33 2 31 45 26 34
Qiang LIBrookhaven National Laboratory

Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Science Department, Bldg. 480, Upton, New York, 11973-5000, USA

+1 631 344 4490
Takao MORINational Institute for Materials Science (NIMS)

WPI International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (WPI-MANA) Namiki 1-1, Tsukuba 305-0044, Japan

+81 29 860 4323
Wenjie XIEUniversity of Stuttgart - IMW

Heisenbergstr. 3, 70569 Stuttgart, Germany

+49 711 685 61957