Thermoelectric properties of pulsed current sintered nanocrystalline Al-doped ZnO by chemical vapour synthesis
ZnO is a promising n-type oxide thermoelectric material, which is stable in air at elevated temperatures. In the present study, we report the bottom-up approach to create Al-doped ZnO nanocomposites from nanopowders, which are prepared by chemical vapour synthesis. With our synthesis route, we are able to create highly doped Al-containing ZnO nanocomposites that exhibit bulk-like electrical conductivity. Moreover, the impact of the microstructure of the nanocomposites on their thermal conductivity is enormous, with a value of 1.0 W m−1 K−1 for 1% Al–ZnO at room temperature, which is one of the lowest values reported, to date, on ZnO nanocomposites. The optimization of the Al-doping and microstructure with respect to the transport properties of bulk Al–ZnO nanocomposites leads to a zT value of about 0.24 at 950 K, underlining the potential of our technique.