Paramagnetic spins take electrons for a ride, produce electricity from heat

An international team of researchers has observed that local thermal perturbations of spins in a solid can convert heat to energy even in a paramagnetic material—where spins weren't thought to correlate long enough to do so. This effect, which the researchers call "paramagnon drag thermopower," converts a temperature difference into an electrical voltage. This discovery could lead to more efficient thermal energy harvesting—for example, converting car exhaust heat into electric power to enhance fuel-efficiency, or powering smart clothing by body heat.

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