Outstanding Low Temperature Thermoelectric Power Factor from Completely Organic Thin Films Enabled by Multidimensional Conjugated Nanomaterials Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2016 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim. In an effort to create a paintable/printable thermoelectric material, comprised exclusively of organic components, polyaniline (PANi), graphene, and double-walled nanotube (DWNT) are alternately deposited from aqueous solutions using the layer-by-layer assembly technique. Graphene and DWNT are stabilized with an intrinsically conductive polymer, poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS). An 80 quadlayer thin film (≈1 μm thick), comprised of a PANi/graphene-PEDOT:PSS/PANi/DWNT-PEDOT:PSS repeating sequence, exhibits unprecedented electrical conductivity (σ ≈ 1.9 × 105 S m-1) and Seebeck coefficient (S ≈ 120 μV K-1) for a completely organic material. These two values yield a thermoelectric power factor (PF = S 2 σ-1) of 2710 μW m-1 K-2, which is the highest value ever reported for a completely organic material and among the highest for any material measured at room temperature. These outstanding properties are attributed to the highly ordered structure in the multilayer assembly. This water-based thermoelectric nanocomposite is competitive with the best inorganic semiconductors (e.g., bismuth telluride) at room temperature and can be applied as a coating to any flexible surface (e.g., fibers in clothing). For the first time, there is a real opportunity to harness waste heat from unconventional sources, such as body heat, to power devices in an environmentally-friendly way.

author list (cited authors)

  • Cho, C., Wallace, K. L., Tzeng, P., Hsu, J., Yu, C., & Grunlan, J. C.

citation count

  • 129

publication date

  • January 2016