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Issue 30, 2015
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From crystal to glass-like thermal conductivity in crystalline minerals

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Abstract

The ability of some materials with a perfectly ordered crystal structure to mimic the heat conduction of amorphous solids is a remarkable physical property that finds applications in numerous areas of materials science, for example, in the search for more efficient thermoelectric materials that enable to directly convert heat into electricity. Here, we unveil the mechanism in which glass-like thermal conductivity emerges in tetrahedrites, a family of natural minerals extensively studied in geology and, more recently, in thermoelectricity. By investigating the lattice dynamics of two tetrahedrites of very close compositions (Cu12Sb2Te2S13 and Cu10Te4S13) but with opposite glasslike and crystal thermal transport by means of powder and single-crystal inelastic neutron scattering, we demonstrate that the former originates from the peculiar chemical environment of the copper atoms giving rise to a strongly anharmonic excess of vibrational states.

Graphical abstract: From crystal to glass-like thermal conductivity in crystalline minerals

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Article information


Submitted
19 May 2015
Accepted
02 Jun 2015
First published
08 Jun 2015

Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2015,17, 19751-19758
Article type
Paper

From crystal to glass-like thermal conductivity in crystalline minerals

Y. Bouyrie, C. Candolfi, S. Pailhès, M. M. Koza, B. Malaman, A. Dauscher, J. Tobola, O. Boisron, L. Saviot and B. Lenoir, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2015, 17, 19751
DOI: 10.1039/C5CP02900G

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