Boosting the performance of printed thermoelectric materials by inducing morphological anisotropy
Thermoelectrics can generate electrical energy from waste heat and work also as active coolers. However, their widespread use is hindered by their poor efficiency, which is aggravated by their costly and hard-to-scale fabrication process. Good thermoelectric performances require materials with high (low) electrical (thermal) conductivity. Inducing morphological anisotropy at the nanoscale holds promise to boost thermoelectric performances, in both inorganic and organic materials, by increasing the ratio electrical/thermal conductivity along a selected direction without strongly affecting the Seebeck coefficient. Recent advances in 2D/3D printed electronics are revealing new simple and inexpensive routes to fabricate thermoelectrics with the necessary morphological control to boost performance by inducing anisotropy.