Curiosity Rover Powered by Thermoelectrics Lands on Mars
The newest Mars rover from NASA JPL/Caltech uses PbTe-based thermoelectrics for power. News and Video
Liquid-Like Thermoelectric Materials
Because a liquid does not propagate shear vibrations the thermal conductivity can be less than that of a solid. Using the liquid-like behaviour of superionic conductors and related highly disordered materials extends the phonon-glass electron-crystal concept for the search for new thermoelectrics.
Band Structure Engineering of PbTe based alloys for Thermoelectrics
Alloys of PbTe have been used to generate electricity from heat on NASA space missions for 50 years and now are being considered for use on Earth for automotive waste heat recovery. Caltech has recently demonstrated that the zT of PbTe and PbSe alloys can be tuned to be much better than previously thought possible due, in part, to the exceptionally high valley degeneracy.
Complex Zintl Compounds
The rich solid-state chemistry of Zintl phases enables a directed search and optimization of new complex thermoelectric materials. Several new Zintl Compounds have been found with inherently low thermal conductivity and can be doped to have high zT.