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Issue 32, 2017
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Using heterostructural alloying to tune the structure and properties of the thermoelectric Sn1−xCaxSe

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Abstract

We grow and kinetically stabilize the isotropic rocksalt phase of SnSe thin films by alloying SnSe with CaSe. Thin polycrystalline films of the metastable heterostructural alloy Sn1−xCaxSe are synthesized by pulsed laser deposition on amorphous SiO2 over the entire composition range 0 < x < 1. We observe the theoretically-predicted, composition-driven change from a layered, orthorhombic structure to an isotropic, cubic structure near x = 0.18, in reasonable agreement with the theoretical value of x = 0.13 calculated from first principles. The optical band gap is highly non-linear in x and the trend agrees with theory predictions. Compared to the layered end-member SnSe, the isotropic alloy near the orthorhombic-to-rocksalt transition has a p-type electrical resistivity three orders of magnitude lower, and a thermoelectric power factor at least ten times larger. Thus manipulation of the structure of a functional material like SnSe via alloying may provide a new path to enhanced functionality, in this case, improved thermoelectric performance.

Graphical abstract: Using heterostructural alloying to tune the structure and properties of the thermoelectric Sn1−xCaxSe

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Publication details

The article was received on 28 Apr 2017, accepted on 20 Jul 2017 and first published on 21 Jul 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7TA03694A
Citation: J. Mater. Chem. A, 2017,5, 16873-16882
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    Using heterostructural alloying to tune the structure and properties of the thermoelectric Sn1−xCaxSe

    B. E. Matthews, A. M. Holder, L. T. Schelhas, S. Siol, J. W. May, M. R. Forkner, D. Vigil-Fowler, M. F. Toney, J. D. Perkins, B. P. Gorman, A. Zakutayev, S. Lany and J. Tate, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2017, 5, 16873
    DOI: 10.1039/C7TA03694A

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