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Comptes Rendus Physique
Volume 17, n° 10
pages 1072-1083 (décembre 2016)
Doi : 10.1016/j.crhy.2016.08.004
The thermoelectric working fluid: Thermodynamics and transport
Le fluide de travail thermoélectrique : thermodynamique et transport

Giuliano Benenti a, b, , Henni Ouerdane c, d, e , Christophe Goupil c
a Center for Nonlinear and Complex Systems, Dipartimento di Scienza e Alta Tecnologia, Università degli Studi dell'Insubria, via Valleggio 11, 22100 Como, Italy 
b Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, Sezione di Milano, via Celoria 16, 20133 Milano, Italy 
c Laboratoire interdisciplinaire des énergies de demain (LIED), UMR 8236, Universitié Paris-Diderot, CNRS, 5, rue Thomas-Mann, 75013 Paris, France 
d Russian Quantum Center, 100 Novaya Street, Skolkovo, Moscow region 143025, Russian Federation 
e UFR LVE, Université de Caen Normandie, Esplanade de la Paix, 14032 Caen, France 

Corresponding author.

Thermoelectric devices are heat engines, which operate as generators or refrigerators using the conduction electrons as a working fluid. The thermoelectric heat-to-work conversion efficiency has always been typically quite low, but much effort continues to be devoted to the design of new materials boasting improved transport properties that would make them of the electron crystal–phonon glass type of systems. On the other hand, there are comparatively few studies where a proper thermodynamic treatment of the electronic working fluid is proposed. The present article aims at contributing to bridge this gap by addressing both the thermodynamic and transport properties of the thermoelectric working fluid covering a variety of models, including interacting systems.

The full text of this article is available in PDF format.

Les dispositifs thermoélectriques sont des machines thermiques pouvant opérer en mode générateur ou réfrigérateur en utilisant les électrons de conduction comme fluide de travail. Le rendement de conversion chaleur–travail a toujours été typiquement bas, mais la conception de nouveaux matériaux thermoélectriques fait l'objet d'efforts conséquents en vue d'obtenir des systèmes de type cristal électronique–verre de phonons. Par comparaison, il y a cependant un déficit de traitement approfondi des propriétés thermodynamiques du fluide de travail thermoélectrique. Le présent article vise à contribuer à combler cet écart en examinant les propriétés thermodynamiques et de transport du fluide de travail thermoélectrique dans le cadre de différents modèles, incluant les systèmes en interaction.

The full text of this article is available in PDF format.

Keywords : Thermoelectricity, Phase transitions, Interacting systems

Mots-clés : Thermoélectricité, Transitions de phase, Systèmes en interaction

1  In the Landauer approach, where conductances rather than conductivities are used, similar expressions are derived with the transport distribution function substituted by the transmission function [[21], [24], [25]].
2  See Ref. [[32]] also for a detailed discussion of thermopower close to the Anderson transition.
3  The heat current is the difference between the total energy current   and the electrochemical potential energy current  :   [[18]].
4  Note that hereafter we shall use the simple thermal average correlator   rather than the Kubo–Mori inner product  ; see Ref. [[54]] for a discussion of the assumptions needed to justify the use of the simple thermal-averaged expression.

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