Skutterudites: promising power conversion thermoelectrics
Department of Physics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
Skutterudites are among the most promising novel thermoelectric materials for power conversion applications in the temperature range between about 700-1000K . The open nature of the structure offers various means of structural modifications including void filling, doping, and alloying which result in both n- and p-type conducting materials with the figure of merit exceeding unity. The high thermoelectric figure of merit is a result of exceptionally low lattice thermal conductivity that, together with good electronic properties, yields a superior thermoelectric material. Filled skutterudites are excellent candidates for the upper section of segmented unicouples and have considerable potential for greatly improving the power conversion efficiency of thermoelectric devices. We shall review the latest progress with the skutterudite materials.