Although the Harman method evaluates the thermoelectric figure-of-merit in a rapid and simple fashion, the accuracy of this method is affected by several electrical and thermal extrinsic factors that have not been thoroughly investigated. Here, we study the relevant extrinsic effects and a correction scheme for them. A finite element model simulates the electrical potential and temperature fields of a sample, and enables the detailed analysis of electrical and thermal transport. The model predicts that the measurement strongly depends on the materials, sample geometries, and contact resistance of the electrodes. To verify the model, we measure the thermoelectric properties of Bi2-Te3 based alloys with systematically varied sample geometries and either with a point or a surface current source. By comparing the model and experimental data, we understand how the measurement conditions determine the extrinsic effects, and, furthermore, able to extract the intrinsic thermoelectric properties. A correction scheme is proposed to eliminate the associated extrinsic effects for an accurate evaluation. This work will help the Harman method be more consistent and accurate and contribute to the development of thermoelectric materials.
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