Recent advances in inorganic material thermoelectrics
Thermoelectrics is a research area that focuses on the development of high-performance materials for direct thermal and electrical energy conversion in power generation and solid-state cooling. Ever since Ioffe's inference in 1950s that heavily doped semiconductors make the best thermoelectrics, inorganic semiconductors and semimetals have remained the cornerstone of high-performance thermoelectric materials. In this article, we review the recent advances in inorganic material thermoelectrics with special emphases on: (i) the complementary local-global view of material and the roles of configurational entropy and Fermi surface complexity in material screening; (ii) the emerging schemes of resonant bonding, dynamic disorder, “gap” engineering, pudding-mold-shaped bands in material performance enhancement; (iii) a list of promising bulk materials, such as host–guest structures, half-Heusler compounds, silicides, Zintl phases, and incommensurate structures; and (iv) state-of-the-art materials synthesis and fabrication techniques. These advances will facilitate the development of next-generation bulk thermoelectric materials.
- This article is part of the themed collections: 2018 Inorganic Chemistry Frontiers Review-type Articles and Review Collection of Emergent Inorganic Materials for Energy, Catalysis and Bio-applications