Researchers have developed silver copper telluride (AgCuTe), a novel compound that exhibits poor thermal conductivity but shows good electrical conductivity. It was developed by researchers from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Bengaluru.
The new material having thermoelectric properties is made from silver, copper, and tellurium. It shows high levels of thermoelectric performance i.e. exhibits poor thermal conductivity in 25-425 degree C range but shows good electrical conductivity.
Due to its low thermal conductivity, one end of 8 mm-long AgCuTe rod which is contact with waste heat remains hot while other end maintains cold temperature. This temperature difference results in generation of electrical voltage. The material also exhibits good electrical conductivity like metal at same time.
Significance: The compound shows ideal promise as thermoelectric material for converting waste heat into electricity. Its potential applications as thermoelectric technology are in automobile industry, thermal, chemical and steel power plants where large quantities of heat are wasted.