Scope of the workshop

Recent achievements in condensed matter physics and chemistry have brought us to the point where the material properties can be tuned on the quantum mechanical level.

Our goal is to acquire the knowledge required to achieve control over the relevant degrees of freedom and to engineer new thermoelectric materials with specific quantum mechanical properties. From the complexity of the problem it is clear that engineering of such devices cannot be successful without input from the fundamental research. One has to solve the chemical and metallurgical problems to produce new materials, one needs accurate characterization of the physical properties of these highly complex chemical structures in order to understand the systematic trends, and one has to perform theoretical modeling of various quantum mechanical effects in strongly correlated systems.

We are interested in the possibility of engineering the thermoelectric devices for low-temperature applications using the correlated electron systems close to the metal-insulator boundary. The thermoelectric workshop will focus on Kondo insulators, correlated semiconductors, skutterudites, and related heterostructures. It will review new materials and new mechanisms that could lead to thermoelectric devices with a useful figure-of-merit below 77 K.

It is important for progress in this field to have a stimulating dialogue between chemists, metallurgists and physicists. The success is only likely to be achieved through a combination of techniques in a multi-front approach and the workshop will provide the opportunity to step back and look at the bigger picture.

Bringing together the most active experimentalists and theoreticians working in this field, we aim at the following:

- To review the experimental and theoretical results relevant for strongly correlated thermoelectrics.

- To focus both on the similarities and differences between various systems.

- To examine how close the experiments and theory come together, and to guess what comes next.

Thermoelectricity has been a fascinating subject for a long time. In the 19th century it unified triumphantly the thermodynamics and electrodynamics. (It was even used as an argument against the atomistic Boltzmann approach to the theory of heat.) In the mid-20th century, the thermoelectric Carnot engine based on semiconductors was given a great future. Today, thermoelectricity is still a great scientific and technological challenge.

The workshop follows the IICAM format and devotes ample time to discussions. There are 2-3 one-hour lectures in the morning, with unlimitted discussion time. Every afternoon session starts in the poster room, for discussions, and continues with two more lectures. The poster room is adjacent to the lecture room and posters will be on the boards during the whole workshop. The powerpoint presentations given by the lecturers will be printed out and also put on the boards, giving the students the possibility for additional questioning. The after-dinner talks should provide a general overview of the field. The presentations will be available on the web site of the meeting.


photos by Ruth Monnier; design by Antun Čajkovac