Superlattice, thermoelectric, power generation
Superlattice structures used in thermoelectric materials.
Current thermoelectric power generation technology has limited efficiency.
This invention proposes a superlattice structure for thermoelectric power generation that includes m monolayers of a first barrier material alternating with n monolayers of a second quantum well material with a pair of monolayers defining a superlattice period and each of the materials having a relatively smooth interface. Each of the quantum well layers have a thickness which is less than the thickness of the barrier layer by an amount which causes substantial confinement of conduction carriers to the quantum well layer and the alternating layers provide a superlattice structure having a figure of merit which increases with increasing temperature.
The combined enhancements of the Seebeck coefficient and mobility resulted in an increase in the 300 K ZT of PbTe from .about.0.45 for bulk material to greater than 1.2 in quantum wells.
US Patent 6452206 issued on 9/17/2002
Last revised: August 31, 2011