Enhanced thermoelectric properties of the n-type Magnéli phase WO2.90: reduced thermal conductivity through microstructure engineering†
The thermoelectric properties of the Magnéli phase WO2.90 were investigated, with special attention to how the thermoelectric performance can be altered by changing its microstructure. Spark plasma sintering (SPS) allowed the direct preparation of large amounts of consolidated material. Adding Ta2O5 to the reaction mixture lead to the formation of solid solutions W1−xTaxO2.90via a concurrent reaction between WO3 and Ta2O5 during the SPS treatment. In addition, micron-sized inclusions containing tungsten surrounded by WOx embedded in a WO2.90 matrix were formed, which act as additional scattering centers. As a result, the thermal conductivity of the Ta-containing samples was reduced by ≈30% over the temperature range from 300 to 1100 K while the electronic properties remained unaffected, which in turn enhanced the thermoelectric performance and led to a relatively high zT value of 0.15 at 1100 K for n-type metal oxides.