What is it about?
Silicon is not a good thermoelectric material by itself due to its high thermal conductivity. Nanocrystalline silicon shows a much lower thermal conductivity but also a lower electrical conductivity. We show that when depleted by hydrogen, nanocrystalline silicon heavily doped with boron reports a high electrical conductivity along with a good Seebeck coefficient due to energy filtering of carriers. This leads to a remarkably large power factor that, along with the expected low thermal conductivity, makes nanocrystalline silicon a very interesting competitor of Bi2Te3 for room temperature applications.
Photo by Laura Ockel on Unsplash
Why is it important?
Use of silicon for thermoelectric heat harvesting/cooling impacts thermoelectric technology as silicon is non-toxic and largely geo-abundant; and it is easiliy integrated in planar microelectronic devices. We foresee important applications for microcooling (heat dissipation from ICs) and microharvesting (supplying power for IoT).
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This page is a summary of: Exceptional thermoelectric power factors in hyperdoped, fully dehydrogenated nanocrystalline silicon thin films, Applied Physics Letters, December 2021, American Institute of Physics, DOI: 10.1063/5.0076547.
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