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The concept of using “self-assembled” and “force-engineered” nanostructures to enhance the thermoelectric figure of merit relative to bulk homogeneous and composite materials is presented in general terms. Specific application is made to the Si-Ge system for use in power generation at high temperature. The scientific advantages of the nanocomposite approach for the simultaneous increase in the power factor and decrease of the thermal conductivity are emphasized along with the practical advantages of having bulk samples for property measurements and a straightforward path to scale-up materials synthesis and integration of nanostructured materials into thermoelectric cooling and power generation devices.
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