We show how small-signal analysis, a standard method in electrical engineering, may be applied to thermoelectric device performance measurement by extending a dc model to the dynamical regime. We thus provide a physical ground to ad-hoc models used to interpret impedance spectroscopy of thermoelectric elements from an electrical circuit equivalent for thermoelectric systems in the frequency domain. We particularly stress the importance of the finite thermal impedance of the thermal contacts between the thermoelectric system and the thermal reservoirs in the derivation of such models. The expression for the characteristic angular frequency of the thermoelectric system we obtain is a generalization of the expressions derived in previous studies. In particular, it allows to envisage impedance spectroscopy measurements beyond the restrictive case of adiabatic boundary conditions often difficult to achieve experimentally, and hence in-situ characterization of thermoelectric generators.
- Frequency analysis
- Small-signal model
- Thermoelectric characterization
- Thermoelectric generator