An additional interesting class of energy materials is named thermoelectrics. These materials convert heat into electrical energy. They can be employed to utilise the waste heat from motors or expelled by industry, or even use body heat, such as for operating pacemakers, watches, and smartphones, for example. Until now, thermoelectrics have not been efficient enough and are hardly used. Staff members at the HZB are dedicating their expertise in materials research to investigating and understanding the physical processes in thermoelectric materials.
In the Energy Materials In Situ Laboratory (EMIL) scientists are able to analyze thermoelectric and thermochemical materials, too.
Theoretical simulations are providing a promising means of discovering interesting combinations of materials. We are developing novel thermoelectrics on this basis that convert heat into electrical power more efficiently by means of nanostructures and periodic distortions of crystal lattices, for example.