Sprinkled with power: How impurities enhance a thermoelectric material at the atomic level

Magnesium silicide (Mg2Si) is a thermoelectric material that can convert heat into electricity. Though it is known that adding antimony impurities enhances the performance of Mg2Si, the mechanisms underlying this effect are unclear. Now, scientists shed light on the effects of these impurities at the atomic level, taking us closer to arriving at a practical way of efficiently harvesting waste heat from cars and thermal power plants to produce clean energy.