Large, nonsaturating thermopower in a quantizing magnetic field

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Science Advances  25 May 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 5, eaat2621
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat2621

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The thermoelectric effect is the generation of an electrical voltage from a temperature gradient in a solid material due to the diffusion of free charge carriers from hot to cold. Identifying materials with a large thermoelectric response is crucial for the development of novel electric generators and coolers. We theoretically consider the thermopower of Dirac/Weyl semimetals subjected to a quantizing magnetic field. We contrast their thermoelectric properties with those of traditional heavily doped semiconductors and show that, under a sufficiently large magnetic field, the thermopower of Dirac/Weyl semimetals grows linearly with the field without saturation and can reach extremely high values. Our results suggest an immediate pathway for achieving record-high thermopower and thermoelectric figure of merit, and they compare well with a recent experiment on Pb1–xSnxSe.

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