Organic Thermoelectric Materials: Emerging Green Energy Materials Converting Heat to Electricity Directly and Efficiently



The abundance of solar thermal energy and the widespread demands for waste heat recovery make thermoelectric generators (TEGs) very attractive in harvesting low-cost energy resources. Meanwhile, thermoelectric refrigeration is promising for local cooling and niche applications. In this context there is currently a growing interest in developing organic thermoelectric materials which are flexible, cost-effective, eco-friendly and potentially energy-efficient. In particular, the past several years have witnessed remarkable progress in organic thermoelectric materials and devices. In this review, thermoelectric properties of conducting polymers and small molecules are summarized, with recent progresses in materials, measurements and devices highlighted. Prospects and suggestions for future research efforts are also presented. The organic thermoelectric materials are emerging candidates for green energy conversion.