Tailored Semiconducting Carbon Nanotube Networks with Enhanced Thermoelectric Properties

Azure D. Avery, Ben H. Zhou, Jounghee Lee, Eui Sup Lee, Elisa M. Miller, Rachelle Ihly, Devin Wesenberg, Kevin S. Mistry, Sarah L. Guillot, Barry L. Zink, Yong Hyun Kim, Jeffrey L. Blackburn, Andrew J. Ferguson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

260 Scopus Citations


Thermoelectric power generation, allowing recovery of part of the energy wasted as heat, is emerging as an important component of renewable energy and energy efficiency portfolios. Although inorganic semiconductors have traditionally been employed in thermoelectric applications, organic semiconductors garner increasing attention as versatile thermoelectric materials. Here we present a combined theoretical and experimental study suggesting that semiconducting single-walled carbon nanotubes with carefully controlled chirality distribution and carrier density are capable of large thermoelectric power factors, higher than 340 μWm-1 K-2, comparable to the best-performing conducting polymers and larger than previously observed for carbon nanotube films. Furthermore, we demonstrate that phonons are the dominant source of thermal conductivity in the networks, and that our carrier doping process significantly reduces the thermal conductivity relative to undoped networks. These findings provide the scientific underpinning for improved functional organic thermoelectric composites with carbon nanotube inclusions.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numberArticle No. 16033
Number of pages9
JournalNature Energy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-65863


  • carbon fullerenes
  • carbon nanotubes
  • electronic materials
  • solar-photochemistry
  • thermoelectrics


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