ABSTRACT: Energy harvesting technologies, which generate electricity from environmental energy, have been attracting great interest because of their potential to power ubiquitously deployed sensor networks and mobile electronics. Of these technologies, thermoelectric (TE) conversion is a particularly promising candidate, because it can directly generate electricity from the thermal energy that is available in various places. Here we show a novel TE concept based on the spin Seebeck effect, called 'spin-thermoelectric (STE) coating', which is characterized by a simple film structure, convenient scaling capability, and easy fabrication. The STE coating, with a 60-nm-thick bismuth-substituted yttrium iron garnet (Bi:YIG) film, is applied by means of a highly efficient process on a non-magnetic substrate. Notably, spin-current-driven TE conversion is successfully demonstrated under a temperature gradient perpendicular to such an ultrathin STE-coating layer (amounting to only 0.01% of the total sample thickness). We also show that the STE coating is applicable even on glass surfaces with amorphous structures. Such a versatile implementation of the TE function may pave the way for novel applications making full use of omnipresent heat.
Nature Material 06/2012; 11(8):686-9. · 32.84 Impact Factor