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Issue 5, 2020
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Eutectoid nano-precipitates inducing remarkably enhanced thermoelectric performance in (Sn1−xCdxTe)1−y(Cu2Te)y

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Abstract

Due to its similar crystallographic and electronic band structure to PbTe, SnTe becomes a natural alternative to PbTe for promising mid-temperature thermoelectric power generation and refrigeration. The bottleneck which restricts the thermoelectric performance of SnTe lies mainly in its relatively high lattice thermal conductivity. In this work, we found that co-doping SnTe with Cd and Cu2Te leads to “eutectoid” precipitation of CdTe- and Cu2Te-based nano-phases, which (together with Cu interstitials) can reduce the lattice thermal conductivity from ∼1.0 W m−1 K−1 for pristine SnTe to a remarkably lower level of ∼0.42 W m−1 K−1 for (Sn0.95Cd0.05Te)0.95(Cu2Te)0.05 at 823 K. With further valence band convergence by CdSn substitution and carrier concentration optimization by I-doping, we obtained a significantly enhanced figure of merit ZT of ∼1.42 at 823 K in (Sn0.95Cd0.05Te)0.93(Cu2Te)0.07-1%I. Interestingly, temperature dependent XRD measurements excluded the dynamic solution of CdTe or Cu2Te in the SnTe matrix and consequent phonon scattering reinforcement as reported. Overall, our finding of “eutectoid” precipitation of high-density CdTe/Cu2Te nano-phases, as strong scatters for mid-frequency heat-carrying phonons, might shed light on future studies on reducing lattice thermal conductivity in SnTe and related thermoelectric material systems.

Graphical abstract: Eutectoid nano-precipitates inducing remarkably enhanced thermoelectric performance in (Sn1−xCdxTe)1−y(Cu2Te)y

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
10 Oct 2019
Accepted
03 Jan 2020
First published
06 Jan 2020

J. Mater. Chem. A, 2020,8, 2798-2808
Article type
Paper

Eutectoid nano-precipitates inducing remarkably enhanced thermoelectric performance in (Sn1−xCdxTe)1−y(Cu2Te)y

X. Qi, Y. Huang, D. Wu, B. Jiang, B. Zhu, X. Xu, J. Feng, B. Jia, Z. Shu and J. He, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2020, 8, 2798
DOI: 10.1039/C9TA11180H

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