A new Zintl phase for direct thermal to electrical energy conversion

Image of the extended structure of Yb₂₁Mn₄Sb₁₈ with the central cluster, deficiencies, and disorder highlighted.
Image of the extended structure of Yb₂₁Mn₄Sb₁₈ with the central cluster, deficiencies, and disorder highlighted.

Thermoelectric materials have shown promise as a clean energy alternative to fossil fuels that can convert waste heat into electrical power.  The Kauzlarich lab (He et al., Chem. Mater., 2019), in collaboration with Prof. Donadio and NASA-JPL, have been able to elucidate the structural and physical properties of a new material, Yb₂₁MnSb₁₈, showing large thermoelectric efficiency in the mid-to-high temperature regime.  The favorable properties of Yb₂₁MnSb₁₈ come intrinsically from its unique crystal structure, highlighted below. 

More information at  http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.chemmater.9b02671