Nanowerk News, Honolulu, reports that South Korean scientists have shown that interface roughening may be an effective way to enhance the thermoelectric properties of core/shell nanowires.

The report notes that thermoelectric materials convert a temperature gradient into a voltage but that most thermoelectrics are too inefficient for widespread practical application. Still, the possibility that these materials could usefully harness heat waste, such as that generated by combustion engines, makes improving their efficiency an important pursuit in materials science, according to Nanowerks.