Thomson effect in thermionic refrigeration: Enhanced performance of graphene/2D-semiconductor/graphene heterostructure cooler

Publication Name

Journal of Applied Physics


Two-dimensional (2D) materials and their heterostructures have been widely explored for high-performance energy conversion applications. The Thomson effect—a higher order transport process—plays an important role in thermoelectric devices, yet its effect on the performance of thermionic devices remains unknown thus far. Here, we investigate the performance of thermionic refrigeration in vertically stacked heterostructure (VHS) and laterally stitched heterointerface (LHS) composed of a graphene and a 2D semiconductor (i.e., MoS 2 and WSe 2 ) in the presence of the Thomson effect. Using a temperature-dependent Seebeck coefficient, we derived the analytical expressions of the cooling efficiency and the effective Z T . We shall show that the Thomson effect improves the coefficient of performance (COP) by up to 20%, particularly, in the case where the temperature difference between the cold and the hot electrodes is large. However, the Carnot efficiency decreases with the temperature difference. The overall COP is reduced by the Thomson effect. We calculate the COP in graphene/MoS 2 /graphene and graphene/WSe 2 /graphene VHS and LHS devices. We show that the LHS composed of WSe 2 significantly outperforms the VHS and MoS 2 counterpart. These findings provide an understanding of thermionic processes in the higher-order transport regime and shall offer insights into the design of novel 2D material heterostructure thermionic energy converters.

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Funding Sponsor

Australian Research Council



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