Appl. Phys. Lett. 77, 3033 (2000)
We propose a junction of metal and rare-earth compound semiconductor as the basis for a possible efficient low-temperature thermoelectric device. If an overlayer of rare-earth atoms differing from the bulk is placed at the interface, very high values of the figure of merit ZTZT can be reached at low temperature. This is due to sharp variation of the transmission coefficient of carriers across the junction at a narrow energy range, which is intrinsically linked to the localized character of the overlayer f orbital.