First Thermoelectrics Colloquium at HZB brought many experts together

On 24 November 2016, HZB invited experts to the first HZB Thermoelectrics Colloquium. The focus of the lectures given by internationally renowned researchers was the development and characterisation of new thermoelectric materials. The researchers also discussed material properties that are important for use in thermoelectric generators. More than 50 scientists participated in the event.

The use of thermoelectric materials has great potential for the development of new energy-efficient and resource-saving technologies. In many applications so far, a great deal of heat is lost in the energy conversion process, which could otherwise be captured for other purposes using thermoelectrics. By "thermoelectrics", materials researchers refer specifically to semiconductor materials that could efficiently convert heat into electricity. Yet, this is where the challenges remain: The materials’ efficiencies are still relatively low, and so there is a fair way to go before thermoelectrics will come into widespread use.

"We were especially pleased with the positive feedback and high attendance, despite the fact that this was the first Thermoelectrics Colloquium at HZB and that the TE community had already been to many other national and international events this year. Talks with participants also revealed that the relatively young thermoelectrics research at HZB is being increasingly perceived as interesting and relevant in the community," said the organiser of the colloquium, Dr. Katharina Fritsch from the HZB department “Methods for Characterisation of Transport Phenomena in Energy Materials”.

Renowned scientists presented their theoretical and experimental research successes at the HZB Thermoelectrics Colloquium. Among others, Prof. Dr. Georg Madsen of the Institute of Materials Chemistry of Technische Universität Wien reported on the computer-aided predictions of new half-Heusler compounds employing ab-initio methods and their optimisation. Dr. Johannes de Boor of the Institute of Materials Research of DLR Cologne gave his lecture on the development and characterisation of novel thermoelectrics based on magnesium silicide. Dr. Klaus Habicht of HZB presented results that he and his team obtained from microscopic probes of skutterudites (minerals of the cobalt antimonide) and mesoporous silicon.

In the following poster session, participants shared their knowledge, experience and latest results and trends in thermoelectrics research. 

The Thermoelectrics Colloquium is planned to be established as a regular series of events at HZB.