Pb-Ge-Te-Compounds for Thermoelectric Generators or Peltier Arrangements

Executive Summary

Thermoelectric devices convert heat into electricity. Conversely, if direct current is applied, heat will be transported from one side to the other (Peltier arrangement) and the device can also act as a heat pump.

While some applications exist today, more efficient thermoelectric materials are needed to be practical for a broader range of commercial applications. MSU researchers have developed a novel composition that possesses higher efficiency than previous technologies. The material can be used as a thermoelectric device, or a Peltier arrangement for applications ranging from waste heat recovery to cooling of electronics.

Description of Technology

Thermoelectric devices are known and used in power generation facilities to convert waste heat to electricity. When used in the opposite configuration where electricity is used to drive heat flow (Peltier arrangement), the devices can be used as heat pumps. To be effective, the materials need to be good conductors and thermally insulating. This MSU technology is a unique composition that involves lead telluride doped p or n type semiconductor materials. The materials have a high Seebeck coefficient > 80 microvolts/K at 25oC and electrical conductivity > 150 S/cm.

Key Benefits

  • Highly efficient thermoelectric material
  • Enhances the range of thermoelectric generators and Peltier arrangements possible


  • Thermoelectric generators
  • Heat pumps
  • Automotive heat recovery
  • Cooling chips, circuit boards
  • Cathodic pipeline protection

Patent Status

US Granted Patent 7,952,015

Licensing Rights Available

Full licensing rights available


Mercouri Kanatzidis, Duck-Young Chung, Hans-Josef Sterzel and Klaus Kuehling

Tech ID


Patent Information: