Publication Details

Huang, S., Sanderson, M., Zhang, Y. & Zhang, C. (2017). High efficiency and non-Richardson thermionics in three dimensional Dirac materials. Applied Physics Letters, 111 (18), 183902-1-183902-4.


Three dimensional (3D) topological materials have a linear energy dispersion and exhibit many electronic properties superior to conventional materials such as fast response times, high mobility, and chiral transport. In this work, we demonstrate that 3D Dirac materials also have advantages over conventional semiconductors and graphene in thermionic applications. The low emission current suffered in graphene due to the vanishing density of states is enhanced by an increased group velocity in 3D Dirac materials. Furthermore, the thermal energy carried by electrons in 3D Dirac materials is twice of that in conventional materials with a parabolic electron energy dispersion. As a result, 3D Dirac materials have the best thermal efficiency or coefficient of performance when compared to conventional semiconductors and graphene. The generalized Richardson-Dushman law in 3D Dirac materials is derived. The law exhibits the interplay of the reduced density of states and enhanced emission velocity.

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