High Thermoelectric Performance SnTe-In2Te3 Solid Solutions Enabled by Resonant Levels and Strong Vacancy Phonon Scattering

Gangjian Tan, Wolfgang G. Zeier, Fengyuan Shi, Pengli Wang, G. Jeffery Snyder, Vinayak P. Dravid, Mercouri G Kanatzidis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Citations (Scopus)


Herein, we report a significantly improved thermoelectric figure of merit ZT of ∼1.1 at ∼923 K in p-type SnTe through In2Te3 alloying and iodine doping. We propose that the introduction of indium at Sn sites in SnTe creates resonant levels inside the valence bands, thereby considerably increasing the Seebeck coefficients and power factors in the low-to-middle temperature range. Unlike SnTe-InTe, the SnTe-In2Te3 system displays much lower lattice thermal conductivity. Utilizing a model for point defect scattering, we analyze the origin of the low thermal conductivity in SnTe-In2Te3 and attribute it mainly to the strong vacancy originated phonon scattering between Sn atoms and the vacancies introduced by In2Te3 alloying and partly to the interfacial scattering by In-rich nanoprecipitates present in SnTe matrix. By alloying only In2Te3 with SnTe, a ZT value of ∼0.9 at 923 K was achieved. ZT can be further increased to ∼1.1 at 923 K through adjusting the charge carriers by iodine doping at Te sites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7801-7811
Number of pages11
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - Nov 6 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Chemistry(all)

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