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Thermoelectric efficiency at maximum power in low-dimensional systems

Nakpathomkun, Natthapon; Xu, Hongqi LU and Linke, Heiner LU (2010) In Physical Review B (Condensed Matter and Materials Physics) 82(23).
Abstract
Low-dimensional electronic systems in thermoelectrics have the potential to achieve high thermal-to-electric energy conversion efficiency. A key measure of performance is the efficiency when the device is operated under maximum power conditions. Here we study the efficiency at maximum power, in the absence of phonon-mediated heat flow, of three low-dimensional, thermoelectric systems: a zero-dimensional quantum dot with a Lorentzian transmission resonance of finite width, a one-dimensional (1D) ballistic conductor, and a thermionic (TI) power generator formed by a two-dimensional energy barrier. In all three systems, the efficiency at maximum power is independent of temperature, and in each case a careful tuning of relevant energies is... (More)
Low-dimensional electronic systems in thermoelectrics have the potential to achieve high thermal-to-electric energy conversion efficiency. A key measure of performance is the efficiency when the device is operated under maximum power conditions. Here we study the efficiency at maximum power, in the absence of phonon-mediated heat flow, of three low-dimensional, thermoelectric systems: a zero-dimensional quantum dot with a Lorentzian transmission resonance of finite width, a one-dimensional (1D) ballistic conductor, and a thermionic (TI) power generator formed by a two-dimensional energy barrier. In all three systems, the efficiency at maximum power is independent of temperature, and in each case a careful tuning of relevant energies is required to achieve maximal performance. We find that quantum dots perform relatively poorly under maximum power conditions, with relatively low efficiency and small power throughput. Ideal one-dimensional conductors offer the highest efficiency at maximum power (36% of the Carnot efficiency). Whether 1D or TI systems achieve the larger maximum power output depends on temperature and area filling factor. These results are also discussed in the context of the traditional figure of merit ZT. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Physical Review B (Condensed Matter and Materials Physics)
volume
82
issue
23
publisher
American Physical Society
external identifiers
  • wos:000286769600005
  • scopus:78650886208
ISSN
1098-0121
DOI
10.1103/PhysRevB.82.235428
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
929f3547-d3ad-431c-989c-bd49bb2ab06e (old id 1859762)
date added to LUP
2011-04-20 08:53:13
date last changed
2018-06-24 04:14:03
@article{929f3547-d3ad-431c-989c-bd49bb2ab06e,
  abstract     = {Low-dimensional electronic systems in thermoelectrics have the potential to achieve high thermal-to-electric energy conversion efficiency. A key measure of performance is the efficiency when the device is operated under maximum power conditions. Here we study the efficiency at maximum power, in the absence of phonon-mediated heat flow, of three low-dimensional, thermoelectric systems: a zero-dimensional quantum dot with a Lorentzian transmission resonance of finite width, a one-dimensional (1D) ballistic conductor, and a thermionic (TI) power generator formed by a two-dimensional energy barrier. In all three systems, the efficiency at maximum power is independent of temperature, and in each case a careful tuning of relevant energies is required to achieve maximal performance. We find that quantum dots perform relatively poorly under maximum power conditions, with relatively low efficiency and small power throughput. Ideal one-dimensional conductors offer the highest efficiency at maximum power (36% of the Carnot efficiency). Whether 1D or TI systems achieve the larger maximum power output depends on temperature and area filling factor. These results are also discussed in the context of the traditional figure of merit ZT.},
  articleno    = {235428},
  author       = {Nakpathomkun, Natthapon and Xu, Hongqi and Linke, Heiner},
  issn         = {1098-0121},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {23},
  publisher    = {American Physical Society},
  series       = {Physical Review B (Condensed Matter and Materials Physics)},
  title        = {Thermoelectric efficiency at maximum power in low-dimensional systems},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevB.82.235428},
  volume       = {82},
  year         = {2010},
}