Organic thermoelectric materials for energy harvesting and temperature control

TitleOrganic thermoelectric materials for energy harvesting and temperature control
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsB. Russ, A.M. Glaudell, J.J. Urban, M.L. Chabinyc, and R.A. Segalman
Date PublishedOCT

Conjugated polymers and related processing techniques have been developed for organic electronic devices ranging from lightweight photovoltaics to flexible displays. These breakthroughs have recently been used to create organic thermoelectric materials, which have potential for wearable heating and cooling devices, and near-room-temperature energy generation. So far, the best thermoelectric materials have been inorganic compounds (such as Bi2Te3) that have relatively low Earth abundance and are fabricated through highly complex vacuum processing routes. Molecular materials and hybrid organic-inorganic materials now demonstrate figures of merit approaching those of these inorganic materials, while also exhibiting unique transport behaviours that are suggestive of optimization pathways and device geometries that were not previously possible. In this Review, we discuss recent breakthroughs for organic materials with high thermoelectric figures of merit and indicate how these materials may be incorporated into new module designs that take advantage of their mechanical and thermoelectric properties.