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Onework entitled “Broad temperature plateau for thermoelectric figure of meritZT>2 in phase-separated PbTe0.7S0.3” was recentlypublished on Nature Communications (NAT COMMUN) (IF=10.742, 2013), which isa multidisciplinary Nature research journal that publishes high-quality researchfrom all areas of the natural sciences that represent important advances withinspecific scientific disciplines. This publication is the first-time reports inSUSTC, which is the first-author and corresponding-author affiliate.
Energyis the life blood of modern civilizations. However, our “blood” has been facingexhausted. What’s worse, the energy utilization efficiency of these scarceenergy sources is always quite low, at least 50 percent of all used energy ingeneral was injected as waste heat. Thermoelectric power generation representsa field of energy conversion technology, showing notable advantages to harvestthe widely distributed waste heat into electricity.
Raisingthe efficiency of energy conversion in thermoelectric materials greatlyenhances their prospects for extensive commercial applications. Theefficiency of thermoelectric materials depends directly on the average ZT (dimensionless figure of merit) overa certain temperature range which historically has been challenged to increase.The work published on NAT COMMUNreports that 2.5% K dopedPbTe0.7S0.3 achieves a ZT of >2 for a very wide temperaturerange from 673 to 923 K and has record high average ZT of 1.56 (corresponding to a theoretical energy conversionefficiency of ~20.7% at the temperature gradient from 300 K to 900 K), asshown in Figure. Considering the high potential of this matieral on wideapplications, Prof. He has applied for a patent and established a cooperativerelationship with a respective company in Shenzhen, aiming to put thisexperimental super-high performance into industrialization.