A stretchable thermoelectric (TE) generator was developed by using rigid BiTe-based TE elements and a non-stretchable substrate with origami-like folding deformation. Our stretchable TE generator contains flat sections, on which the rigid TE elements are arranged, and folded sections, which produce and guarantee the stretchability of a device. First, a simple stretchable device with a single pair of p-type and n-type BiTe-based TE elements was designed and fabricated. The TE elements were sandwiched between two folded polyimide-copper substrates. The length of the wiring between the flat sections changed from 1.0 mm in the folded state to 1.8 mm in the deployed state. It was also confirmed that the single-pair device could generate power in both the folded and deployed states. After this, a stretchable TE generator with eight pairs of p-type and n-type BiTe-based TE elements connected in series was created. The stretchable TE generator was capable of withstanding a stretching deformation of 20% and could also produce an output voltage in both the folded and deployed states.
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