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Researchers double the efficiency of thermoelectric materials made with organic semiconductors [Registered]

Researchers from the University of Michigan (U-M) have found a way to nearly double the efficiency of a particular class of thermoelectric materials made with organic semiconductors. Thermoelectric materials can be used to turn waste heat into electricity or to provide refrigeration without any liquid coolants. Organic semiconductors are carbon-rich compounds that are relatively cheap, abundant, lightweight and tough. But they haven’t traditionally been considered candidate thermoelectric materials because they have been inefficient in carrying out the essential heat-to-electricity conversion process. Today’s most efficient thermoelectric materials are made of relatively rare inorganic semiconductors such as bismuth, tellurium and selenium that…

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