Wearable and flexible thin film thermoelectric module for multi-scale energy harvesting

Vaithinathan Karthikeyan, James Utama Surjadi, Joseph C.K. Wong, Venkataraman Kannan, Kwok Ho Lam, Xianfeng Chen, Yang Lu, Vellaisamy A.L. Roy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Developing a thermoelectric generator(TEG) with shape conformable geometry for sustaining low-thermal impedance and large temperature gradient (ΔT) is fundamental for wearable and multi-scale energy harvesting applications. Here we demonstrate a flexible architectural design, with efficient thin film thermoelectric generator as a solution for this problem. This approach not only decreases the thermal impedance but also multiplies the temperature gradient, thereby increasing the power conversion efficiency (PCE) as comparable to bulk TEG. Intact thin films of Tin telluride (p-type) and Lead Telluride (n-type) are deposited on flexible substrate through physical vapor deposition and a thermoelectric module possessing a maximum output power density of 8.4 mW/cm2 is fabricated. We have demonstrated the performance of p-SnTe/n-PbTe based TEG as a flexible wearable power source for electronic gadgets, as a thermal touch sensor for real-time switching and temperature monitoring for exoskeleton applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number227983
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Early online date9 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2020


  • Flexible thermoelectric generator
  • Thermal sensor
  • Thin films
  • Wearable electronics


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