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Materials 2014, 7(4), 2577-2592; doi:10.3390/ma7042577
Review

Bismuth Telluride and Its Alloys as Materials for Thermoelectric Generation

School of Physics, University of New South Wales, Sydney 2052, Australia
Received: 9 February 2014 / Revised: 21 March 2014 / Accepted: 24 March 2014 / Published: 28 March 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Energy Materials)
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Abstract

Bismuth telluride and its alloys are widely used as materials for thermoelectric refrigeration. They are also the best materials for use in thermoelectric generators when the temperature of the heat source is moderate. The dimensionless figure of merit, ZT, usually rises with temperature, as long as there is only one type of charge carrier. Eventually, though, minority carrier conduction becomes significant and ZT decreases above a certain temperature. There is also the possibility of chemical decomposition due to the vaporization of tellurium. Here we discuss the likely temperature dependence of the thermoelectric parameters and the means by which the composition may be optimized for applications above room temperature. The results of these theoretical predictions are compared with the observed properties of bismuth telluride-based thermoelements at elevated temperatures. Compositional changes are suggested for materials that are destined for generator modules.
Keywords: thermoelectric; generation; bismuth telluride thermoelectric; generation; bismuth telluride
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Goldsmid, H.J. Bismuth Telluride and Its Alloys as Materials for Thermoelectric Generation. Materials 2014, 7, 2577-2592.

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