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ACS Nano. 2017 Aug 22;11(8):7608-7614. doi: 10.1021/acsnano.7b01771. Epub 2017 Jul 18.

Flexible and Robust Thermoelectric Generators Based on All-Carbon Nanotube Yarn without Metal Electrodes.

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Photo-electronic Hybrids Research Center, Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) , Seoul 02792, Republic of Korea.
Carbon Nanomaterials Design Laboratory, Global Research Laboratory, Research Institute of Advanced Materials, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Seoul National University , Seoul 08826, Republic of Korea.
Department of Applied Organic Materials Engineering, Inha University , Incheon 402-751, Republic of Korea.
Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) , Daejeon 34129, Republic of Korea.
Nano-Materials and Engineering, Korea University of Science and Technology (UST) , Daejeon 34113, Republic of Korea.


As practical interest in flexible/or wearable power-conversion devices increases, the demand for high-performance alternatives to thermoelectric (TE) generators based on brittle inorganic materials is growing. Herein, we propose a flexible and ultralight TE generator (TEG) based on carbon nanotube yarn (CNTY) with excellent TE performance. The as-prepared CNTY shows a superior electrical conductivity of 3147 S/cm due to increased longitudinal carrier mobility derived from a highly aligned structure. Our TEG is innovative in that the CNTY acts as multifunctions in the same device. The CNTY is alternatively doped into n- and p-types using polyethylenimine and FeCl3, respectively. The highly conductive CNTY between the doped regions is used as electrodes to minimize the circuit resistance, thereby forming an all-carbon TEG without additional metal deposition. A flexible TEG based on 60 pairs of n- and p-doped CNTY shows the maximum power density of 10.85 and 697 μW/g at temperature differences of 5 and 40 K, respectively, which are the highest values among reported TEGs based on flexible materials. We believe that the strategy proposed here to improve the power density of flexible TEG by introducing highly aligned CNTY and designing a device without metal electrodes shows great potential for the flexible/or wearable power-conversion devices.


carbon nanotube yarn; energy conversion; flexible materials; robust module; thermoelectric properties


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