Blanc Inter SIMI 4 - Blanc international - Sciences de l'information, de la matière et de l'ingénierie : Constituants fondamentaux de la matière, physique de la matière condensée

Thermoelectricity of quantum matter – QuanTherm

Submission summary

There has been a recent surge in the quest for useful thermoelectric materials partly motivated by the environment-friendliness of thermoelectric refrigerators and generators. In fundamental research on electron organization in solids, thermoelectricity has emerged as a very sensitive, even if poorly understood, probe, in particular in presence of strong electron correlation.

Quantum criticality arises when a macroscopic phase of matter undergoes a continuous transformation at zero temperature. Studies of Seebeck and Nernst coefficients in a number of correlated-electron systems have opened a new window to this issue. Recent studies have found that the breakdown of the Landau Fermi liquid picture is accompanied by an unusual thermoelectric response. A main aim of this proposal is to study the thermoelectric signatures of quantum criticality in a wide range of systems including both heavy-electron materials and stacks of grapheme.

Topological insulators, band insulators with particular symmetry properties arising from spin-orbit interaction have recently attracted a tremendous amount of theoretical attention and inspired an increasing number of experiments. All three hitherto identified families of topological insulators happen to be good thermoelectric materials and the origin of their large Seebeck coefficient in these systems is still far from established. We intend to put under scrutiny the thermoelectric response of these systems and explore the possible existence of Kondo topological insulators, which are also thermoelectrically interesting materials.

Recently, Nernst effect has emerged as a probe of quantum oscillations with unrivalled sensitivity. We intend to use this probe in both graphite and bismuth to provide fresh input for a problem many-decades old yet unsettled: the fate of the three-dimensional gas of electrons pushed beyond the quantum limit. The large Nernst coefficient of these semimetals suggests that the Nernst route towards useful thermoelectricity deserves a more extensive exploration.

The two partners, among a handful of groups on the international scene exploring the thermoelectric response of correlated electrons in extreme conditions, propose to initiate a new collaboration. The core of the project is to recruit two postdoctoral researchers, one based in Vienna and one based in Paris, carrying out a set of high-resolution thermoelectric measurements in the two laboratories and in high-field facilities. The results are expected to provide experimental input for a deeper theoretical understanding of thermoelectric phenomena.

Project coordination

Kamran Behnia (CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE - DELEGATION REGIONALE ILE-DE-FRANCE SECTEUR PARIS A) – kamran.behnia@gmail.com

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.

Partner

LPEM-ESPCI CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE - DELEGATION REGIONALE ILE-DE-FRANCE SECTEUR PARIS A
TU-Wien Prof. Dr. Silke Buehler-Paschen

Help of the ANR 259,409 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: - 36 Months

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