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Realizing high performance n-type PbTe by synergistically optimizing effective mass and carrier mobility and suppressing bipolar thermal conductivity

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Abstract

Thermoelectric materials enable direct inter-conversion between electrical energy and thermal energy. The conversion efficiency is limited by their complex interdependent thermoelectric parameters. Here, we report that the electrical and thermal transport properties of n-type PbTe can be simultaneously improved by introducing just one component, MnTe. We obtained a maximum ZT of ∼1.6 at 773 K and an average ZTave of >1.0 at 300–873 K in n-type MnTe alloyed PbTe. This remarkably enhanced performance arises from the triple functions of MnTe alloying: (1) making the conduction band flatter to increase the effective mass from 0.31 me to 0.45 me; (2) enlarging the band gap of PbTe to suppress the bipolar thermal conductivity; and (3) introducing point defects instead of nanoprecipitates to reduce the lattice thermal conductivity while maintaining a relatively high carrier mobility. Our results indicate that high performance can be achieved in n-type PbTe by integrating different but synergistic concepts.

Graphical abstract: Realizing high performance n-type PbTe by synergistically optimizing effective mass and carrier mobility and suppressing bipolar thermal conductivity

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Publication details

The article was received on 19 Apr 2018, accepted on 15 Jun 2018 and first published on 15 Jun 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8EE01151F
Citation: Energy Environ. Sci., 2018, Advance Article
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    Realizing high performance n-type PbTe by synergistically optimizing effective mass and carrier mobility and suppressing bipolar thermal conductivity

    Y. Xiao, H. Wu, J. Cui, D. Wang, L. Fu, Y. Zhang, Y. Chen, J. He, S. J. Pennycook and L. Zhao, Energy Environ. Sci., 2018, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C8EE01151F

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