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Portrait of Heiner Linke; Photo: Kennet Ruona

Heiner Linke

Professor, Deputy dean (prorektor) at Faculty of Engineering, LTH

Portrait of Heiner Linke; Photo: Kennet Ruona

Thermoelectric efficiency at maximum power in low-dimensional systems


  • Natthapon Nakpathomkun
  • Hongqi Xu
  • Heiner Linke

Summary, in English

Low-dimensional electronic systems in thermoelectrics have the potential to achieve high thermal-to-electric energy conversion efficiency. A key measure of performance is the efficiency when the device is operated under maximum power conditions. Here we study the efficiency at maximum power, in the absence of phonon-mediated heat flow, of three low-dimensional, thermoelectric systems: a zero-dimensional quantum dot with a Lorentzian transmission resonance of finite width, a one-dimensional (1D) ballistic conductor, and a thermionic (TI) power generator formed by a two-dimensional energy barrier. In all three systems, the efficiency at maximum power is independent of temperature, and in each case a careful tuning of relevant energies is required to achieve maximal performance. We find that quantum dots perform relatively poorly under maximum power conditions, with relatively low efficiency and small power throughput. Ideal one-dimensional conductors offer the highest efficiency at maximum power (36% of the Carnot efficiency). Whether 1D or TI systems achieve the larger maximum power output depends on temperature and area filling factor. These results are also discussed in the context of the traditional figure of merit ZT.


  • Solid State Physics

Publishing year





Physical Review B (Condensed Matter and Materials Physics)





Document type

Journal article


American Physical Society


  • Condensed Matter Physics




  • ISSN: 1098-0121