Recently, it has been shown that the thermoelectric figure of merit is strongly enhanced in quantum wells and superlattices due to two-dimensional carrier confinement. We predict that the figure of merit can increase even further in quantum well structures with free-surface or rigid boundaries. This additional increase is due to spatial confinement of acoustic phonons and corresponding modification of their group velocities. The latter leads to an increase of the phonon relaxation rates and thus, a significant drop in the lattice thermal conductivity.

1.
A. F. Ioffe, Semiconductor Thermoelements and Thermoelectronic Cooling (Infosearch, London, 1957);
A. F. Ioffe, Semiconductor Thermoelements (Nauka, Moscow, 1956) (in Russian).
2.
G.
Mahan
,
B.
Sales
, and
J.
Sharp
,
Phys. Today
50
,
42
(
1997
).
3.
L. D.
Hicks
,
T. C.
Harman
,
X.
Sun
, and
M. S.
Dresselhaus
,
Phys. Rev. B
53
,
R10493
(
1996
);
T. C. Harman, D. L. Spears, D. R. Calawa, S. H. Groves, and M. P. Walsh, in Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Thermoelectrics, ICT’97, Dresden, Germany IEEE, 1997, IEEE Cat. No. 97TH8291, p. 416;
A. Yamamoto, H. Kato, S. Kuwashiro, M. Takimoto, T. Ohta, K. Miki, K. Sakamoto, T. Matsui, and K. Kamisako, ibid., p. 434.
4.
L. D.
Hicks
and
M. S.
Dresselhaus
,
Phys. Rev. B
47
,
12727
(
1993
);
L. D.
Hicks
,
T. C.
Harman
, and
M. S.
Dresselhaus
,
Appl. Phys. Lett.
63
,
3230
(
1993
).
5.
J. O.
Sofo
and
G. D.
Mahan
,
Appl. Phys. Lett.
65
,
2690
(
1994
);
G. D.
Mahan
and
H. B.
Lyon
, Jr.
,
J. Appl. Phys.
76
,
1899
(
1994
);
D. A.
Broido
and
T. L.
Reinecke
,
Phys. Rev. B
51
,
13797
(
1995
).
6.
S. Y.
Ren
and
J. D.
Dow
,
Phys. Rev. B
25
,
3750
(
1982
).
7.
Yu.
Boikov
,
B. M.
Goltsman
, and
V. A.
Danilov
,
Semiconductors
29
,
464
(
1995
).
8.
K. L. Wang and A. Balandin (unpublished).
9.
N.
Nishiguchi
,
Phys. Rev. B
54
,
1494
(
1996
).
10.
P. G. Klemens, in Solid State Physics, edited by F. Seitz and D. Turnbull (Academic, New York, 1958), Vol. 7, p. 1;
J. E. Parrott and A. D. Stuckes Thermal Conductivity of Solids (Methuen, New York, 1975).
11.
Y.-J.
Han
and
P. G.
Klemens
,
Phys. Rev. B
48
,
6033
(
1993
).
12.
A.
Balandin
and
K. L.
Wang
,
Phys. Rev. B
58
,
1544
(
1998
).
13.
SeGi
Yu
,
K. W.
Kim
,
M. A.
Stroscio
,
G. J.
Iafrate
, and
A.
Ballato
,
Phys. Rev. B
50
,
1733
(
1994
);
N.
Bannov
,
V.
Aristov
, and
V.
Mitin
,
Phys. Rev. B
51
,
9930
(
1995
).
14.
A.
Svizhenko
,
A.
Balandin
,
S.
Bandyopadhyay
, and
M. A.
Stroscio
,
Phys. Rev. B
57
,
4687
(
1998
).
15.
P. M. Morse, Vibration and Sound (American Institute of Physics, New York, 1986).
16.
H. Scherrer and S. Scherrer in CRC Handbook of Thermoelectrics, edited by D. M. Rowe (Chemical Rubber Corporation, Boca Raton, FL, 1995), p. 211.
17.
R. D. Barnard, Thermoelectricity in Metals and Alloys (Taylor & Francis Ltd., London, 1972);
T. C. Harman and J. M. Honig, Thermoelectric and Thermomagnetic Effects and Applications (McGraw–Hill, New York, 1967).
18.
R. B.
Dingle
,
Appl. Sci. Res., Sect. B
6
,
225
(
1957
).
19.
A.
Balandin
and
K. L.
Wang
,
Bull. Am. Phys. Soc.
43
,
80
(
1998
).
This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.