Thermoelectric materials create electric current when they are used to bridge hot and cold objects. The new class of thermoelectric materials has a special crystal structure that consists of tiny cages that house cerium atoms, which are magnetic. The technical term for crystals that host atoms in cage-like spaces is clathrates. The cerium atoms constantly try to escape their cages and the interaction between the atoms and the cages seems to be responsible for the material’s favourable properties. The experiments showed that the cerium atoms increase the material’s thermopower by 50%.
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Image shows clathrates. Credit: TU Vienna
Creating Electricity with Caged Atoms!Posted: September 24, 2013 in Science, Science Breakthroughs, Technology, Technology News
Tags: breakthrough, BRL Test, electricity, science, technology