Large n- and p-Type Thermoelectric Power Factors from Doped Semiconducting Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube Thin Films

Andrew Ferguson, Jeffrey Blackburn, Katherine Hurst, Zbyslaw Owczarczyk, Rachelle Ihly, Isaac Gould, Devin Wesenberg, Christopher Fewox, Christopher Folmar, Katherine Hughes, Barry Zink, Noah Stanton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

170 Scopus Citations


Lightweight, robust, and flexible single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) materials can be processed inexpensively using solution-based techniques, similar to other organic semiconductors. In contrast to many semiconducting polymers, semiconducting SWCNTs (s-SWCNTs) represent unique one-dimensional organic semiconductors with chemical and physical properties that facilitate equivalent transport of electrons and holes. These factors have driven increasing attention to employing s-SWCNTs for electronic and energy harvesting applications, including thermoelectric (TE) generators. Here we demonstrate a combination of ink chemistry, solid-state polymer removal, and charge-transfer doping strategies that enable unprecedented n-type and p-type TE power factors, in the range of 700 μW m-1 K-2 at 298 K for the same solution-processed highly enriched thin films containing 100% s-SWCNTs. We also demonstrate that the thermal conductivity appears to decrease with decreasing s-SWCNT diameter, leading to a peak material zT ≈ 0.12 for s-SWCNTs with diameters in the range of 1.0 nm. Our results indicate that the TE performance of s-SWCNT-only material systems is approaching that of traditional inorganic semiconductors, paving the way for these materials to be used as the primary components for efficient, all-organic TE generators.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2168-2179
Number of pages12
JournalEnergy and Environmental Science
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Royal Society of Chemistry.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-68583


  • semiconductors
  • single-walled carbon nanotubes
  • solar-photochemistry
  • thin films


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