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  1. Mg 3 Sb 2 –Mg 3 Bi 2 alloys have been heavily studied as a competitive alternative to the state-of-the-art n-type Bi 2 (Te,Se) 3 thermoelectric alloys. Using Mg 3 As 2 alloying, we examine another dimension of exploration in Mg 3 Sb 2 –Mg 3 Bi 2 alloys and the possibility of further improvement of thermoelectric performance was investigated. While the crystal structure of pure Mg 3 As 2 is different from Mg 3 Sb 2 and Mg 3 Bi 2 , at least 15% arsenic solubility on the anion site (Mg 3 ((Sb 0.5 Bi 0.5 ) 1−x As x ) 2 : x = 0.15) was confirmed. Density functional theory calculations showed the possibility of band convergence by alloying Mg 3 Sb 2 –Mg 3 Bi 2 with Mg 3 As 2 . Because of only a small detrimental effect on the charge carrier mobility compared to cation site substitution, the As 5% alloyed sample showed zT = 0.6–1.0 from 350 K to 600 K. This study shows that there is an even larger composition space to examine for the optimization of material properties by considering arsenic introduction into the Mg 3 Sb 2 –Mg 3 Bimore »2 system.« less
  2. Herein we study the effect alloying Yb onto the octahedral cite of Te doped Mg 3 Sb 1.5 Bi 0.5 has on transport and the material's high temperature stability. We show that the reduction in mobility can be well explained with an alloy scattering argument due to disrupting the Mg octahedral –Mg tetrahedral interaction that is important for placing the conduction band minimum at a location with high valley degeneracy. We note this interaction likely dominates the conducting states across n-type Mg 3 Sb 2 –Mg 3 Bi 2 solid solutions and explains why alloying on the anion site with Bi isn't detrimental to Mg 3 Sb 2 's mobility. In addition to disrupting this Mg–Mg interaction, we find that alloying Yb into the Mg 3 Sb 2 structure reduces its n-type dopability, likely originating from a change in the octahedral site's vacancy formation energy. We conclude showing that while the material's figure of merit is reduced with the addition of Yb alloying, its high temperature stability is greatly improved. This study demonstrates a site-specific alloying effect that will be important in other complex thermoelectric semiconductors such as Zintl phases.
  3. n-Type conduction in a Mg 3 Sb 1.5 Bi 0.5 system is achieved with La-doping at cation sites with a peak zT > 1. La-doped samples exhibit much higher doping efficiency and dopability compared to other chalcogen-doped samples. This allows greater tunability of the electronic properties. La-doping also significantly improves the thermal stability of n-type Mg 3 Sb 1.5 Bi 0.5 measured via a long-term Hall carrier concentration measurement.
  4. Abstract

    Insulating polymer composites with conductive filler particles are attractive for sensor applications due to their large piezoresistive response. Composite samples composed of a polymer matrix filled with particles of doped semiconductor that gives a piezoresistive response that is 105times larger than that of bulk semiconductor sensors are prepared here. The piezoresistance of such composite materials is typically described by using a tunneling mechanism. However, it is found that a percolation description not only fits prior data better but provides a much simpler physical mechanism for the more flexible and soft polymer composite prepared and tested in this study. A simple model for the resistance as a function of applied pressure is derived using percolation theory with a conductivity exponent,s. The model is shown to fit experimental piezoresistive trends with the resistance measured both perpendicular and parallel to the pressure direction.

  5. Abstract

    Accurate determination of the intrinsic electronic structure of thermoelectric materials is a prerequisite for utilizing an electronic band engineering strategy to improve their thermoelectric performance. Herein, with high‐resolution angle‐resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES), the intrinsic electronic structure of the 3D half‐Heusler thermoelectric material ZrNiSn is revealed. An unexpectedly large intrinsic bandgap is directly observed by ARPES and is further confirmed by electrical and optical measurements and first‐principles calculations. Moreover, a large anisotropic conduction band with an anisotropic factor of 6 is identified by ARPES and attributed to be one of the most important reasons leading to the high thermoelectric performance of ZrNiSn. These successful findings rely on the grown high‐quality single crystals, which have fewer Ni interstitial defects and negligible in‐gap states on the electronic structure. This work demonstrates a realistic paradigm to investigate the electronic structure of 3D solid materials by using ARPES and provides new insights into the intrinsic electronic structure of the half‐Heusler system benefiting further optimization of thermoelectric performance.