Carbon Nanotube-Based Thermoelectric Materials and Devices

Jeffrey Blackburn, Andrew Ferguson, Chungyeon Cho, Jaime Grunlan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

502 Scopus Citations


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.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number1704386
Number of pages35
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-70041


  • carbon nanotubes
  • composite materials
  • energy harvesting
  • organic electronics
  • thermoelectrics


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