Cu2HgSnSe4 nanoparticles: synthesis and thermoelectric properties†
The compositional versatility of I2–II–IV–VI4 tetrahedrally-coordinated compounds allows for accommodating their functional properties to numerous technological applications. Among them, Cu2ZnSnSe4 is an emerging photovoltaic material and Cu2CdSnSe4 displays excellent thermoelectric properties. The third compound of this family, Cu2HgSnSe4, remains relatively unexplored. Herein, a synthetic route to produce Cu2HgSnSe4 nanoparticles with narrow size distribution and controlled composition is presented. Cu2HgSnSe4 nanoparticles were subsequently used as building blocks to produce bulk nanocrystalline materials, whose thermoelectric properties were analyzed. A very preliminary adjustment of the material composition yielded Seebeck coefficients up to 160 μV K−1, electrical conductivities close to 104 S m−1 and thermal conductivities down to 0.5 W m−1 K−1.