High-Performance Screen-Printed Thermoelectric Films on Fabrics

Sunmi Shin, Rajan Kumar, Jong Wook Roh, Dong Su Ko, Hyun Sik Kim, Sang Il Kim, Lu Yin, Sarah M. Schlossberg, Shuang Cui, Jung Min You, Soonshin Kwon, Jianlin Zheng, Joseph Wang, Renkun Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


Printing techniques could offer a scalable approach to fabricate thermoelectric (TE) devices on flexible substrates for power generation used in wearable devices and personalized thermo-regulation. However, typical printing processes need a large concentration of binder additives, which often render a detrimental effect on electrical transport of the printed TE layers. Here, we report scalable screen-printing of TE layers on flexible fiber glass fabrics, by rationally optimizing the printing inks consisting of TE particles (p-type Bi0.5Sb1.5Te3 or n-type Bi2Te2.7Se0.3), binders, and organic solvents. We identified a suitable binder additive, methyl cellulose, which offers suitable viscosity for printability at a very small concentration (0.45-0.60 wt.%), thus minimizing its negative impact on electrical transport. Following printing, the binders were subsequently burnt off via sintering and hot pressing. We found that the nanoscale defects left behind after the binder burnt off became effective phonon scattering centers, leading to low lattice thermal conductivity in the printed n-type material. With the high electrical conductivity and low thermal conductivity, the screen-printed TE layers showed high room-temperature ZT values of 0.65 and 0.81 for p-type and n-type, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7317
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2017


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