- NSF-PAR ID:
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Materials Horizons
- Page Range / eLocation ID:
- 1444 to 1453
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
More Like this
Binary Co 4 Sb 12 skutterudite (also known as CoSb 3 ) has been extensively studied; however, its mixed-anion counterparts remain largely unexplored in terms of their phase stability and thermoelectric properties. In the search for complex anionic analogs of the binary skutterudite, we begin by investigating the Co 4 Sb 12 –Co 4 Sn 6 Te 6 pseudo-binary phase diagram. We observe no quaternary skutterudite phases and as such, focus our investigations on the ternary Co 4 Sn 6 Te 6 via experimental phase boundary mapping, transport measurements, and first-principles calculations. Phase boundary mapping using traditional bulk syntheses reveals that the Co 4 Sn 6 Te 6 exhibits electronic properties ranging from a degenerate p-type behavior to an intrinsic behavior. Under Sn-rich conditions, Hall measurements indicate degenerate p-type carrier concentrations and high hole mobility. The acceptor defect Sn Te , and donor defects Te Sn and Co i are the predominant defects and rationally correspond to regions of high Sn, Te, and Co, respectively. Consideration of the defect energetics indicates that p-type extrinsic doping is plausible; however, Sn Te is likely a killer defect that limits n-type dopability. We find that the hole carrier concentration in Co 4 Sn 6 Te 6 can be further optimized by extrinsic p-type doping under Sn-rich growth conditions.more » « less
Precise control of carrier concentration in both bulk and thin‐film materials is crucial for many solid‐state devices, including photovoltaic cells, superconductors, and high mobility transistors. For applications that span a wide temperature range (thermoelectric power generation being a prime example) the optimal carrier concentration varies as a function of temperature. This work presents a modified modulation doping method to engineer the temperature dependence of the carrier concentration by incorporating a nanosize secondary phase that controls the temperature‐dependent doping in the bulk matrix. This study demonstrates this technique by de‐doping the heavily defect‐doped degenerate semiconductor GeTe, thereby enhancing its average power factor by 100% at low temperatures, with no deterioration at high temperatures. This can be a general method to improve the average thermoelectric performance of many other materials.
The thermoelectric material ZnSb utilizes elements that are inexpensive, abundant, and viable for mass production. While a high thermoelectric figure of merit
zT, is difficult to achieve in Sn‐doped ZnSb, it is shown that this obstacle is primarily due to shortcomings in reaching high enough carrier concentrations. Sn‐doped samples prepared in different equilibrium phase spaces in the ternary Zn‐Sb‐Sn system are investigated using phase boundary mapping, and a range of achievable carrier concentrations is found in the doped samples. The sample with the highest zTin this study, which is obtained with a carrier concentration of 2 × 1019 cm−3when the material is in equilibrium with Zn4Sb3and Sn, confirms that the doping efficiency can be controlled by preparing the doped sample in a particular region of the thermodynamic phase diagram. Moreover, density functional theory calculations suggest that the doping efficiency is limited by the solubility of Sn in ZnSb, as opposed to compensation from native defects. Cognizance of thermodynamic conditions is therefore crucial for rationally tuning the carrier concentration, a quantity that is significant for many areas of semiconductor technologies.
Germanium telluride is a high performing thermoelectric material that additionally serves as a base for alloys such as GeTe–AgSbTe 2 and GeTe–PbTe. Such performance motivates exploration of other GeTe alloys in order understand the impact of site substitution on electron and phonon transport. In this work, we consider the root causes of the high thermoelectric performance material Ge 1− x Mn x Te. Along this alloy line, the crystal structure, electronic band structure, and electron and phonon scattering all depend heavily on the Mn content. Structural analysis of special quasirandom alloy structures indicate the thermodynamic stability of the rock salt phase over the rhombohedral phase with increased Mn incorporation. Effective band structure calculations indicate band convergence, the emergence of new valence band maxima, and strong smearing at the band edge with increased Mn content in both phases. High temperature measurements on bulk polycrystalline samples show a reduction in hole mobility and a dramatic increase in effective mass with respect to increasing Mn content. In contrast, synthesis as a function of tellurium chemical potential does not significantly impact electronic properties. Thermal conductivity shows a minimum near the rhombohedral to cubic phase transition, while the Mn Ge point defect scattering is weak as indicated by the low K L dependence on the Ge–Mn fraction (Fig. 10). From this work, alloys near this phase transition show optimal performance due to low thermal conductivity, moderate effective mass, and low scattering rates compared to Mn-rich compositions.more » « less
In this work, we highlight the often-overlooked effects of doping on the microstructure and performance of bulk thermoelectric materials to offer a broader perspective on how dopants interact with their parent material. Using PbSe doped with Na, Ag, and K as a model material system, we combine original computational, experimental, and microscopy data with established trends in material behavior, to provide an in-depth discussion of the relationship between dopants, processing, and microstructure, and their effects on thermoelectric efficiency and thermal stability. Notable observations include differences in the microstructure and mass loss of thermally treated samples of Na- and Ag-doped PbSe, as well as findings that Na and K cations exist predominantly as substitutional point defects while Ag also occupies interstitial sites and exhibits lower solubility. We discuss how these differences in point defect populations are known to affect a dopants’ ability to alter carrier concentration and how they may affect the mechanical properties of PbSe during processing.