Carbon-Nanotube-Based Thermoelectric Materials and Devices. Academic Article uri icon


  • Conversion of waste heat to voltage has the potential to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of a number of critical energy sectors, such as the transportation and electricity-generation sectors, and manufacturing processes. Thermal energy is also an abundant low-flux source that can be harnessed to power portable/wearable electronic devices and critical components in remote off-grid locations. As such, a number of different inorganic and organic materials are being explored for their potential in thermoelectric-energy-harvesting devices. Carbon-based thermoelectric materials are particularly attractive due to their use of nontoxic, abundant source-materials, their amenability to high-throughput solution-phase fabrication routes, and the high specific energy (i.e., W g-1 ) enabled by their low mass. Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) represent a unique 1D carbon allotrope with structural, electrical, and thermal properties that enable efficient thermoelectric-energy conversion. Here, the progress made toward understanding the fundamental thermoelectric properties of SWCNTs, nanotube-based composites, and thermoelectric devices prepared from these materials is reviewed in detail. This progress illuminates the tremendous potential that carbon-nanotube-based materials and composites have for producing high-performance next-generation devices for thermoelectric-energy harvesting.

published proceedings

  • Adv Mater

author list (cited authors)

  • Blackburn, J. L., Ferguson, A. J., Cho, C., & Grunlan, J. C.

citation count

  • 380

complete list of authors

  • Blackburn, Jeffrey L||Ferguson, Andrew J||Cho, Chungyeon||Grunlan, Jaime C

publication date

  • March 2018