Recently there has been a resurgence of research efforts related to the investigation of new and novel materials for small-scale thermoelectric refrigeration and power generation applications. These materials need to couple and optimize a variety of properties in order to exhibit the necessary figure of merit, i.e. the numerical expression that is commonly used to compare one potential thermoelectric material with another. The figure of merit is related to the coefficient of performance or efficiency of a particular device made from a material. The best thermoelectric material should possess thermal properties similar to that of a glass and electrical properties similar to that of a perfect single-crystal material, i.e. a poor thermal conductor and a good electrical conductor. Skutterudites are materials that appear to have the potential to fulfill such criteria. These materials exhibit many types of interesting properties. For example, skutterudites are members of a family of compounds we call open structure or cage-like, materials. When atoms are placed into the interstitial voids or cages of these materials, the lattice thermal conductivity can be substantially reduced compared with that of unfilled skutterudites. These compounds exhibit electrical properties ranging from that of low-temperature superconductors to narrow gap semiconductors.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Review Article
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error