Maths converges on a better thermoelectric material

UofHouston thermelectric energy-conversion-measurement-device 297

It is a high-entropy ‘Zintl’ alloy of the form YbxCa1-xMgyZn2-ySb2, for which the team devised a way to calculate the exact proportions by aiming for band convergence.

“It is normally difficult to get high performance from thermoelectric materials because not all of the electronic bands in a material contribute,” said director of the university’s superconductivity center Zhifeng Ren. “It’s even more difficult to make a complex material where all of the bands work at the same time in order to get the best performance.”

He likens band conversion to many people lifting an object – if they are a similar height, the load is carried more evenly, said Ren.

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