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Thermoelectric effects enable to convert elegantly either electricity into a temperature difference, thereby producing “cold” (Peltier effect), or any heat source into useful electricity (Seebeck effect). The studies carried out by the team Materials with Thermoelectric Properties address the challenges faced by this green technology :

  • the identification and development of new thermoelectric materials with enhanced conversion performance compared to state-of-the-art thermoelectric materials,
  • understanding the intrinsic mechanisms governing the electronic and thermal transport in thermoelectric materials,
  • the search for innovative solutions for the manufacture and reliability of thermoelectric modules.

The team mainly focuses on degenerate, low-band-gap semiconductors, which are the materials of choice for thermoelectricity. The synthesis of these materials is carried out either in single crystalline or polycrystalline form by various synthesis techniques (Bridgman, flux-growth for single crystals, powder metallurgy for polycrystals).

Thanks to its unique experimental facilities, the team can probe the electrical, thermal and galvanomagnetic properties over a wide range of temperatures (2 - 1500 K). Research activities also rely on large-scale facilities (ILL, ESRF) to deepen the knowledge of the lattice dynamics and electronic properties of the materials synthesized.

Significant efforts are also devoted to the development of thermoelectric modules, on-going from the modeling to the manufacturing through the optimization of their reliability.


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