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Issue 30, 2015
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From crystal to glass-like thermal conductivity in crystalline minerals

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Abstract

The ability of some materials with a perfectly ordered crystal structure to mimic the heat conduction of amorphous solids is a remarkable physical property that finds applications in numerous areas of materials science, for example, in the search for more efficient thermoelectric materials that enable to directly convert heat into electricity. Here, we unveil the mechanism in which glass-like thermal conductivity emerges in tetrahedrites, a family of natural minerals extensively studied in geology and, more recently, in thermoelectricity. By investigating the lattice dynamics of two tetrahedrites of very close compositions (Cu12Sb2Te2S13 and Cu10Te4S13) but with opposite glasslike and crystal thermal transport by means of powder and single-crystal inelastic neutron scattering, we demonstrate that the former originates from the peculiar chemical environment of the copper atoms giving rise to a strongly anharmonic excess of vibrational states.

Graphical abstract: From crystal to glass-like thermal conductivity in crystalline minerals

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Publication details

The article was received on 19 May 2015, accepted on 02 Jun 2015 and first published on 08 Jun 2015


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C5CP02900G
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2015,17, 19751-19758
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    From crystal to glass-like thermal conductivity in crystalline minerals

    Y. Bouyrie, C. Candolfi, S. Pailhès, M. M. Koza, B. Malaman, A. Dauscher, J. Tobola, O. Boisron, L. Saviot and B. Lenoir, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2015, 17, 19751
    DOI: 10.1039/C5CP02900G

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