Dual Alloying Strategy to Achieve a High Thermoelectric Figure of Merit and Lattice Hardening in p-Type Nanostructured PbTe

Sumanta Sarkar, Xiaomi Zhang, Shiqiang Hao, Xia Hua, Trevor P. Bailey, Ctirad Uher, Chris Wolverton, Vinayak P. Dravid, Mercouri G Kanatzidis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


The introduction of an alkaline earth metal telluride as a second phase in PbTe can lead to very high thermoelectric figure of merit, ZT, as a result of hierarchical structuring, e.g., in the PbTe-SrTe system. However, there are two roadblocks to this strategy: poor solubility and occurrence of incoherent nanoprecipitates in the PbTe matrix, e.g., the PbTe-BaTe system. Here we demonstrate a dual alloying approach by simultaneously alloying CaTe and BaTe in the p-type PbTe matrix to achieve ZTmax ranging up to ∼2.2 at high temperatures. Synergistic enhancement of the Seebeck coefficient via favorable band convergence gives rise to higher power factors up to 34 μW cm-1 K-2 and significant suppression of lattice thermal conductivity, IL, down to ∼0.6 W m-1 K-1 results from large multicenter phonon scattering. Additionally, co-inclusion of Ca and Ba causes unanticipated lattice hardening in otherwise brittle PbTe, essential for practical device applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2593-2601
Number of pages9
JournalACS Energy Letters
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 12 2018


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Materials Chemistry

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