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Nanocomposites made of semiconductor nanoparticles impregnated in a semiconductor host material have a high thermoelectric figure-of-merit and can be used to make solid-state refrigerators and solid-state power generators. These refrigerators can be used for thermal management of microdevices or in large scale applications. Generators can convert heat (from any heat source) into electricity for automobiles, distributed power sources, battery chargers, or portable power sources.