A Thermoelectric Heat Engine with Ultracold Atoms

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J. - P. Brantut, C. Grenier, J. Meineke, D. Stadler, S. Krinner, C. Kollath, T. Esslinger and A. Georges
Science 342, 713-715 (2013).

While thermoelectric effects can be used for numerous applications, including converting wasted heat into
power, improvements are needed for the effect to be of greater use. Currently however, especially in solids
that exhibit electronic interactions, this type of behaviour is not well understood, hence typically only
qualitative and not quantitative predictions can be made, so such improvements have remained elusive.

In their work, Brantut and colleagues used ultracold atomic gases to probe a thermoelectric effect known as
the Seebeck effect in a precisely controllable manner. Such control is usually not possible in solid state
systems and thus their work showed for the first time the existence of a model system ideal for probing
thermoelectric effects aimed at improving current our understanding. With an improvement of our
understanding the goal of putting to use thermoelectric effects in many varied applications will be one step