Increasing the conversion efficiency of thermoelectric materials is a key scientific driver behind a worldwide effort to enable heat to electricity power generation at competitive cost. Here we report an increased performance for antimony-doped lead selenide with a thermoelectric figure of merit of ~1.5 at 800 K. This is in sharp contrast to bismuth doped lead selenide, which reaches a figure of merit of <1. Substituting antimony or bismuth for lead achieves maximum power factors between ~23-27 μW cm-1 K-2 at temperatures above 400 K. The addition of small amounts (~0.25 mol%) of antimony generates extensive nanoscale precipitates, whereas comparable amounts of bismuth results in very few or no precipitates. The antimony-rich precipitates are endotaxial in lead selenide, and appear remarkably effective in reducing the lattice thermal conductivity. The corresponding bismuth-containing samples exhibit smaller reduction in lattice thermal conductivity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)