High temperature thermoreflectance imaging and transient Harman characterization of thermoelectric energy conversion devices
Date of this Version7-21-2014
Advances in thin film growth technology have enabled the selective engineering of material properties to improve the thermoelectric figure of merit and thus the efficiency of energy conversion devices. Precise characterization at the operational temperature of novel thermoelectric materials is crucial to evaluate their performance and optimize their behavior. However, measurements on thin film devices are subject to complications from the growth substrate, non-ideal contacts, and other thermal and electrical parasitic effects. In this manuscript, we determine the cross-plane thermoelectric material properties in a single measurement of a 25 mu m InGaAs thin film with embedded ErAs (0.2%) nanoparticles using the bipolar transient Harman method in conjunction with thermoreflectance thermal imaging at temperatures up to 550K. This approach eliminates discrepancies and potential device degradation from the multiple measurements necessary to obtain individual material parameters. In addition, we present a strategy for optimizing device geometry to mitigate the effect of both electrical and thermal parasitics during the measurement. Finite element method simulations are utilized to analyze non-uniform current and temperature distributions over the device area as well as the three dimensional current path for accurate extraction of material properties from the thermal images. Results are compared with independent in-plane and 3 omega measurements of thermoelectric material properties for the same material composition and are found to match reasonably well; the obtained figure of merit matches within 15% at room and elevated temperatures. (C) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.
Nanoscience and Nanotechnology