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Substantial Local Variation of Seebeck Coefficient in Gold Nanowires


Nanoscale structuring holds promise to improve thermoelectric properties of materials for energy conversion and photodetection. We report a study of the spatial distribution of the photothermoelectric voltage in thin-film nanowire devices fabricated from single metal. A focused laser beam is used to locally heat the metal nanostructure via a combination of direct absorption and excitation of a plasmon resonance in Au devices. As seen previously, in nanowires shorter than the spot size of the laser, we observe a thermoelectric voltage distribution that is consistent with the local Seebeck coefficient being spatially dependent on the width of the nanostructure. In longer structures, we observe extreme variability of the net thermoelectric voltage as the laser spot is scanned along the length of the nanowire. The sign and magnitude of the thermoelectric voltage is sensitive to the structural defects, metal grain structure, and surface passivation of the nanowire. This finding opens the possibility of improved local control of the thermoelectric properties at the nanoscale.

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Publication details

The article was received on 14 Apr 2017, accepted on 12 Jun 2017 and first published on 14 Jun 2017

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7NR02678A
Citation: Nanoscale, 2017, Accepted Manuscript
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    Substantial Local Variation of Seebeck Coefficient in Gold Nanowires

    P. Zolotavin, C. I. Evans and D. Natelson, Nanoscale, 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7NR02678A

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