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Protocols for the High Temperature Measurement of the Seebeck Coefficient in Thermoelectric Materials



Joshua B. Martin


In Seebeck coefficient metrology, the present diversity in apparatus design, acquisition methodology, and contact geometry, has resulted in conflicting materials data that complicates the interlaboratory confirmation of reported high efficiency thermoelectric materials. To elucidate the influence of these factors in the measurement of the Seebeck coefficient at high temperature and to identify optimal metrology protocols, we measure the Seebeck coefficient as a function of contact geometry under both steady state and transient thermal conditions of the differential method, using a custom developed apparatus capable of in situ comparative measurement. The thermal gradient formation and data acquisition methodology, under ideal conditions, have little effect on the measured Seebeck coefficient value. However, the off-axis 4-probe contact geometry, as compared to the 2-probe, results in a greater local temperature measurement error that increases with temperature. For surface temperature measurement, the dominant thermal errors arise from a parasitic heat flux that is dependent on the temperature difference between the sample and the external thermal environment, and on the various thermal resistances. Due to higher macroconstriction and contact resistance in the 4-probe arrangement, the measurement of surface temperature for this contact geometry exhibits greater error, thereby overestimating the Seebeck coefficient.
Review of Scientific Instruments


Seebeck coefficient, thermoelectric, surface temperature, thermocouple


Martin, J. (2013), Protocols for the High Temperature Measurement of the Seebeck Coefficient in Thermoelectric Materials, Review of Scientific Instruments, [online], (Accessed July 24, 2024)


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Created July 2, 2013, Updated November 10, 2018