Abstract: Thermoelectric materials can be used in direct conversion of heat to electricity and vice versa. The past decade has witnessed the rapid growth of thermoelectric research, targeting high thermoelectric performance either via reduction in the lattice thermal conductivity or via enhancement of the power factor. In this review, we firstly summarize the recent advances in bulk thermoelectric materials with reduced lattice thermal conductivity by nano-microstructure control and also newly discovered materials with intrinsically low lattice thermal conductivity. We then discuss ways to enhance the electron transport abilities for achieving higher power factor by both novel and traditional methods. Finally, we highlight the recent development in single-crystal thermoelectric materials. These strategies are successful in synergistically manipulating the thermal conductivity and electron transport properties, which have significantly advanced thermoelectric performance on materials. For device applications on these high-performance materials, new opportunities may arise though stability, electrode contacts, mechanical properties, and other problems need to be solved in the near future.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.mattod.2018.03.039