Journal of Electronic Materials

, Volume 41, Issue 9, pp 2307–2312 | Cite as

Measurement of Thermal Conductivity Using Steady-State Isothermal Conditions and Validation by Comparison with Thermoelectric Device Performance

  • Patrick J. Taylor
  • Jay R. Maddux
  • Parvez N. Uppal


A new technique for measuring thermal conductivity with significantly improved accuracy is presented. By using the Peltier effect to counterbalance an imposed temperature difference, a completely isothermal, steady-state condition can be obtained across a sample. In this condition, extraneous parasitic heat flows that would otherwise cause error can be eliminated entirely. The technique is used to determine the thermal conductivity of p-type and n-type samples of (Bi,Sb)2(Te,Se)3 materials, and thermal conductivity values of 1.47 W/m K and 1.48 W/m K are obtained respectively. To validate this technique, those samples were assembled into a Peltier cooling device. The agreement between the Seebeck coefficient measured individually and from the assembled device were within 0.5%, and the corresponding thermal conductivity was consistent with the individual measurements with less than 2% error.


Thermoelectric power generation thermal conductivity Seebeck coefficient 


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Copyright information

© TMS (outside the USA) 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick J. Taylor
    • 1
  • Jay R. Maddux
    • 1
  • Parvez N. Uppal
    • 1
  1. 1.Sensors and Electron Devices DirectorateUS Army Research LaboratoryAdelphiUSA

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