Three dimensional architected thermoelectric devices with high toughness and power conversion efficiency

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Original languageEnglish
Article number2069
Number of pages10
Journal / PublicationNature Communications
Online published12 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023



For decades, the widespread application of thermoelectric generators has been plagued by two major limitations: heat stagnation in its legs, which limits power conversion efficiency, and inherent brittleness of its constituents, which accelerates thermoelectric generator failure. While notable progress has been made to overcome these quintessential flaws, the state-of-the-art suffers from an apparent mismatch between thermoelectric performance and mechanical toughness. Here, we demonstrate an approach to potentially enhance the power conversion efficiency while suppressing the brittle failure in thermoelectric materials. By harnessing the enhanced thermal impedance induced by the cellular architecture of microlattices with the exceptional strength and ductility (>50% compressive strain) derived from partial carbonization, we fabricate three-dimensional (3D) architected thermoelectric generators that exhibit a specific energy absorption of ~30 J g−1 and power conversion efficiency of ~10%. We hope our work will improve future thermoelectric generator fabrication design through additive manufacturing with excellent thermoelectric properties and mechanical robustness. © The Author(s) 2023

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