Inkjet Printed Large-Area Flexible Few-Layer Graphene Thermoelectrics

12 Jun 2018

Graphene-based organic nanocomposites have ascended as promising candidates for thermoelectric energy conversion. In order to adopt existing scalable printing methods for developing thermostable graphene-based thermoelectric devices, optimizations of both the material ink and the thermoelectric properties of the resulting films are required. Here, inkjet printed large-area flexible graphene thin films with outstanding thermoelectric properties are reported. The thermal and electronic transport properties of the films reveal the so-called phonon-glass electron-crystal character (i.e. electrical transport behaviour akin to that of few-layer graphene flakes with quenched thermal transport arising from the disordered nanoporous structure). As a result, the all-graphene films show a room-temperature thermoelectric power factor of 18.7 µW m−1 K−2, representing over a three-fold improvement to previous solution-processed all-graphene structures. Our demonstration of inkjet printed thermoelectric devices underscores the potential for future flexible, scalable and low-cost thermoelectric applications, such as harvesting energy from body heat in wearable applications.