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  1. Abstract

    Yb10MgSb9is a new Zintl compound (with a composition closer to Yb10.5MgSb9) and a promising thermoelectric material first reported in this work. Undoped Yb10MgSb9has an ultralow thermal conductivity due to crystallographic complexity and exhibits a relatively high peak p‐type Seebeck coefficient and high electrical resistivity. This is consistent with Zintl counting and density functional theory (DFT) calculations that the composition Yb10.5MgSb9should be a semiconductor. Na is found experimentally to be an effective p‐type dopant potentially due to the replacement of Na+for Yb2+, allowing for a significant decrease in electrical resistivity. With doping, a dramatic improvement of electrical conductivity is observed and the glass‐like thermal conductivity remains low, allowing for a significant enhancement of the thermoelectric figure of merit,zT. Doping increases thezTfrom 0.23 in undoped Yb10MgSb9to 1.06 in 7 at% Na‐doped Yb10MgSb9at 873K. This high thermoelectric performance found through Na‐doping places this material amongst the leading p‐type Zintl thermoelectrics, making it a promising candidate for future studies and high‐temperature thermoelectric applications.

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  3. The full-Heusler VFe 2 Al has emerged as an important thermoelectric material in its thin film and bulk phases. VFe 2 Al is attractive for use as a thermoelectric materials because of it contains only low-cost, non-toxic and earth abundant elements. While VFe 2 Al has often been described as a semimetal, here we show the electronic and thermal properties of VFe 2 Al can be explained by considering VFe 2 Al as a valence precise semiconductor like many other thermoelectric materials but with a very small band gap ( E g = 0.03 ± 0.01 eV). Using a two-band model for electrical transport and point-defect scattering model for thermal transport we analyze the thermoelectric properties of bulk full-Heusler VFe 2 Al. We demonstrate that a semiconductor transport model can explain the compilation of data from a variety of n and p-type VFe 2 Al compositions assuming a small band-gap between 0.02 eV and 0.04 eV. In this small E g semiconductor understanding, the model suggests that nominally undoped VFe 2 Al samples appear metallic because of intrinsic defects of the order of ∼10 20 defects per cm −3 . We rationalize the observed trends in weighted mobilities ( μ w ) with dopant atoms from a molecular orbital understanding of the electronic structure. We use a phonon-point-defect scattering model to understand the dopant-concentration (and, therefore, the carrier-concentration) dependence of thermal conductivity. The electrical and thermal models developed allow us to predict the zT versus carrier concentration curve for this material, which maps well to reported experimental investigations. 
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