Recent findings about ultrahigh thermoelectric performance in SnSe single crystals have stimulated related research on this simple binary compound, which is focused mostly on its polycrystalline counterparts, and particularly on electrical property enhancement by effective doping. This work systematically investigated the thermoelectric properties of polycrystalline SnSe doped with three alkali metals (Li, Na, and K). It is found that Na has the best doping efficiency, leading to an increase in hole concentration from 3.2 × 1017 to 4.4 × 1019 cm-3 at room temperature, accompanied by a drop in Seebeck coefficient from 480 to 142 μV/K. An equivalent single parabolic band model was found adequate to capture the variation tendency of Seebeck coefficient with doping levels within a wide range. A mixed scattering of carriers by acoustic phonons and grain boundaries is suitable for numerically understanding the temperature-dependence of carrier mobility. A maximum ZT of ∼0.8 was achieved in 1% Na- or K-doped SnSe at 800 K. Possible strategies to improve the mobility and ZT of polycrystals were also proposed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry