Thermoelectric materials which can convert energies directly between heat and electricity are used for solid state cooling and power generation. There is a big challenge to improve the efficiency of energy conversion which can be characterized by the figure of merit (
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Liu, Bin; Hu, Jizhu; Zhou, Jun; and Yang, Ronggui, "Thermoelectric Transport in Nanocomposites." (2017). Mechanical Engineering Faculty Contributions. 28.