The measure of a thermoelectric material is given by the material's figure of merit. For over three decades the best thermoelectric materials had a ZT = 1. Recently, however, there are reports of new methods of materials synthesis that result in improvements beyond this performance. In addition, rapid characterization, as well as faster theoretical modeling of thermoelectric materials, has resulted in a more rapid evaluation of new materials. This book offers a look at these results and provides a benchmark for the current state in the field of thermoelectric materials research and development. The focus is on new and innovative directions that will lead to the next generation thermoelectric materials for small-scale refrigeration and power generation applications. The book emphasizes the multidisciplinary nature of the research needed to advance the science and technology of the field. Both theoretical and experimental studies are featured. Topics include: low-dimensional systems and nanocomposites; devices; oxides; skutterudites; complex bulk materials and measurements; novel approaches; and thermoelectric materials and technology.
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