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Effects of High Figure of Merit Bi2Te3 Based Superlattices on Thermoelectric Power Generation

[+] Author Affiliations
Christopher A. Howells

US Army CERDEC, Ft. Belvoir, VA

Cynthia Watkins, Rama Venkatasubramanian

RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC

Paper No. ES2008-54062, pp. 255-259; 5 pages
  • ASME 2008 2nd International Conference on Energy Sustainability collocated with the Heat Transfer, Fluids Engineering, and 3rd Energy Nanotechnology Conferences
  • ASME 2008 2nd International Conference on Energy Sustainability, Volume 1
  • Jacksonville, Florida, USA, August 10–14, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: Advanced Energy Systems Division and Solar Energy Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4319-2 | eISBN: 0-7918-3832-3
  • Copyright © 2008 by ASME and U.S. Government


We have investigated the power generation characteristics of thermoelectric devices made from high Figure of Merit p-type Bi2 Te3 /Sb2 Te3 and n-type Bi2 Te3 /Bi2 Te2.7 Se0.3 superlattice materials. The Figure of Merit, ZT (where Z is a measure of the material’s thermoelectric properties and T is the absolute temperature) of the p-type and n-type superlattices were each measured at 300K and found to be 2.4 and 1.2 respectively [1]. Sixteen p-n couples were developed using these superlattice materials and they were configured into a 4×4 thermoelectric module. The electrical measurements (Current, Voltage, and Power) of the 4×4 superlattice thermoelectric modules under various resistive loads and temperature differentials in a standard pressure environment are presented and from these, we have determined the peak power and internal resistance of the module. We also discuss other opportunities to further investigate this device as well as its suitability for power applications.

Copyright © 2008 by ASME and U.S. Government



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