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Journal Articles CEAS Space Journal Year : 2021

Thermoelectric materials for space applications

Christophe Candolfi
Soufiane El Oualid
Shantanu Misra
Adèle Léon
Anne Dauscher
Philippe Masschelein
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Patrick Gougeon
Bertrand Lenoir
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Abstract

Solid-state energy conversion through thermoelectric effects remains the technology of choice for space applications for which, their low energy conversion efficiency is largely outweighed by the reliability and technical requirements of the mission. Radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) enable the direct conversion of the heat released by nuclear fuel into the electrical power required to energize the scientific instruments. The optimization of the conversion efficiency is intimately connected to the performances of the thermoelectric materials integrated which are governed by the transport properties of these materials. Recent advances in the design of highly efficient thermoelectric materials raise interesting prospects to further enhance the performances of RTGs for future exploratory missions in the Solar system. Here, we briefly review the knowledge acquired over the last years on several families of thermoelectric materials, the performances of which are close or even higher than those conventionally used in RTGs to date. Issues that remain to be solved are further discussed.
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Dates and versions

hal-03190535 , version 1 (18-05-2021)

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Christophe Candolfi, Soufiane El Oualid, Dorra Ibrahim, Shantanu Misra, Oussama El Hamouli, et al.. Thermoelectric materials for space applications. CEAS Space Journal, 2021, 13 (3), pp.325-340. ⟨10.1007/s12567-021-00351-x⟩. ⟨hal-03190535⟩
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