Seebeck Scanning Microprobe for Thermoelectric FGM
The FGM principle plays an important role in enhancing the efficiency of thermoelectric devices. While a thermoelectric generator (TEG) is typically operating in a large temperature difference, attractive conversion efficiency of a particular semiconductor is restricted to a small temperature range. Hence, when employing a semiconductor with its highest possible efficiency at the respective temperature in the internal temperature field along a stacked TEG, the overall conversion efficiency of the device may be considerably enhanced. Similarly, the FGM principle can be employed for linearization of thermal sensors. The output voltage (response) of the sensor is proportional to the Seebeck coefficient of the material the sensor is made of. Since the Seebeck coefficient is strongly temperature-dependent, the sensor response is not linear with temperature. However, combining in a stack two or more semiconductors which temperature dependence of the Seebeck coefficient are complementary to each other, results in a sensor with linear response (i.e. its output is proportional to the temperature difference, or heat flux, respectively.) Stacking of several materials to each other or grading a semiconducting sample requires a technique which can scan the Seebeck coefficient profiles S(x) along the stack. Accordingly a Seebeck micro-probe technique has been developed for scanning the surface of a sample monitoring S with a resolution of down to 10 µm within the temperature range from -15°C to 60°C. An additional option of such a device is the scanning of the electrical potential along the stack under current flow . Thus, related experimental data on the local profiles of the electrical conductivity and Seebeck coefficient along the stack (or continuously graded FGM) will be available. The apparatus has been automated so that extended areas may be scanned providing two-dimensional images. Additionally, several samples can be scanned in one automatic run.
Omer Van der Biest, Michael Gasik, Jozef Vleugels
D. Platzek et al., "Seebeck Scanning Microprobe for Thermoelectric FGM ", Materials Science Forum, Vols. 492-493, pp. 587-592, 2005