Analysis of nanostructuring in high figure-of-merit Ag-1-x Pbm SbTe2+m thermoelectric materials

Bruce A. Cook, Matthew J. Kramer, Joel L. Harringa, Mi Kyung Han, Duck Young Chung, Mercouri G. Kanatzidis

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87 Citations (Scopus)


Thermoelectric materials based on quaternary compounds Ag-1-x Pbm SbTe2+m exhibit high dimensionless figure-of-merit values, ranging from 1.5 to 1.7 at 700 K. The primary factor contributing to the high figure of merit is a low lattice thermal conductivity, achieved through nanostructuring during melt solidification. As a consequence of nucleation and growth of a second phase, coherent nanoscale inclusions form throughout the material, which are believed to result in scattering of acoustic phonons while causing only minimal scattering of charge carriers. Here, characterization of the nanosized inclusions in Ag053 Pb18 Sb12 Te20 that shows a strong tendency for crystallographic orientation along the {001} planes, with a high degree of lattice strain at the interface, consistent with a coherent interfacial boundary is reported. The inclusions are enriched in Ag relative to the matrix, and seem to adopt a cubic, 96 atom per unit cell Ag2 Te phase based on the Ti2 Ni type structure. In-situ high-temperature synchrotron radiation diffraction studies indicated that the inclusions remain thermally stable to at least 800 K.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1254-1259
Number of pages6
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Apr 23 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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