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Understanding and design of spin-driven thermoelectrics...

by Md M. H. Polash, Duncan H Moseley, Junjie Zhang, Raphael P Hermann, Daryoosh Vashaee
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Cell Reports Physical Science
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While progress in thermoelectric materials based on the engineering of electronic and phononic characteristics is reaching a plateau, the addition of the spin degree of freedom has the potential to open a new landscape for alternative thermoelectric materials. Here, we present the concepts, current understanding, and guidelines for designing spin-driven thermoelectrics. We show that the interplay between the spin and heat currents in entropy transport via charge carriers can offer a path to enhance the electronic thermopower. The classical antiferromagnetic semiconductor manganese telluride (MnTe) is chosen as the case study due to its significant spin-mediated thermoelectric properties. We show that, although the spin-disorder scattering reduces the carrier mobility in magnetic materials, spin entropy, magnon, and paramagnon carrier drags can dominate and significantly enhance the thermoelectric power factor, and hence zT. Finally, several guidelines are drawn based on the current understanding for designing high-performance spin-driven thermoelectric materials.