1 Department of Energy Conversion and Storage, Technical University of Denmark2 Imaging and Structural Analysis, Department of Energy Conversion and Storage, Technical University of Denmark3 Linköping University4 University of South Australia5 Vrije Universiteit Brussel6 Université de Mons-Hainaut7 Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Polymers are lightweight, flexible, solution-processable materials that are promising for low-cost printed electronics as well as for mass-produced and large-area applications. Previous studies demonstrated that they can possess insulating, semiconducting or metallic properties; here we report that polymers can also be semi-metallic. Semi-metals, exemplified by bismuth, graphite and telluride alloys, have no energy bandgap and a very low density of states at the Fermi level. Furthermore, they typically have a higher Seebeck coefficient and lower thermal conductivities compared with metals, thus being suitable for thermoelectric applications. We measure the thermoelectric properties of various poly( 3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) samples, and observe a marked increase in the Seebeck coefficient when the electrical conductivity is enhanced through molecular organization. This initiates the transition from a Fermi glass to a semi-metal. The high Seebeck value, the metallic conductivity at room temperature and the absence of unpaired electron spins makes polymer semi-metals attractive for thermoelectrics and spintronics.
Nature Materials, 2014, Vol 13, Issue 2, p. 190-194