Hopping thermoelectric transport in finite systems: Boundary effects

Jian Hua Jiang, Ora Entin-Wohlman, Yoseph Imry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

It is shown that for the hopping regime, the thermopowers in both finite two- and three-terminal systems are governed by the edges of the samples. This is due to the fact that the energy transfer between a transport electron and a conducting terminal is determined by the site most strongly coupled to that terminal. One-dimensional systems with both nearest-neighbor and variable-range transport as well as certain types of two-dimensional systems are considered. For a given sample, the changes in the thermopowers due to modifying the bulk are quite limited, compared with those of the conductance. When the small thermopower changes exist, their average over a large ensemble of mesoscopic samples will vanish. We also obtain the distribution of the thermopower in such an ensemble and show that its width approaches a finite limit with increasing sample length. This contrasts with the distribution of conductances in such systems, whose width vanishes in the long sample limit. Finally, we find that the thermal conductances in the three-terminal case have a boundary-dominated contribution, due to nonpercolating conduction paths. This contribution can become dominant when the usual conductance is small enough. All our theoretical statements are backed by numerical computations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number205420
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Volume87
Issue number20
DOIs
StatePublished - 13 May 2013

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