Iron-based Binary Ferromagnets for Transverse Thermoelectric Conversion


Akito Sakai, Susumu Minami, Takashi Koretsune, Taishi Chen, Tomoya Higo, Yangming Wang, Takuya Nomoto, Motoaki Hirayama, Shinji Miwa, Daisuke Nishio-Hamane, Fumiyuki Ishii, Ryotaro Arita, Satoru Nakatsuji


Thermoelectric generation using the anomalous Nernst effect (ANE) has great potential for application in energy harvesting technology because the transverse geometry of the Nernst effect should enable efficient, large-area and flexible coverage of a heat source. For such applications to be viable, substantial improvements will be necessary not only for their performance but also for the associated material costs, safety and stability. In terms of the electronic structure, the anomalous Nernst effect (ANE) originates from the Berry curvature of the conduction electrons near the Fermi energy. To design a large Berry curvature, several approaches have been considered using nodal points and lines in momentum space. Here we perform a high-throughput computational search and find that 25 percent doping of aluminium and gallium in alpha iron, a naturally abundant and low-cost element, dramatically enhances the ANE by a factor of more than ten, reaching about 4 and 6 microvolts per kelvin at room temperature, respectively, close to the highest value reported so far. The comparison between experiment and theory indicates that the Fermi energy tuning to the nodal web—a flat band structure made of interconnected nodal lines—is the key for the strong enhancement in the transverse thermoelectric coefficient, reaching a value of about 5 amperes per kelvin per metre with a logarithmic temperature dependence. We have also succeeded in fabricating thin films that exhibit a large ANE at zero field, which could be suitable for designing low-cost, flexible microelectronic thermoelectric generators.