Electronegative guests in CoSb3†
Introducing guests into a host framework to form a so called inclusion compound can be used to design materials with new and fascinating functionalities. The vast majority of inclusion compounds have electropositive guests with neutral or negatively charged frameworks. Here, we show a series of electronegative guest filled skutterudites with inverse polarity. The strong covalent guest–host interactions observed for the electronegative group VIA guests, i.e., S and Se, feature a unique localized “cluster vibration” which significantly influences the lattice dynamics, together with the point-defect scattering caused by element substitutions, resulting in very low lattice thermal conductivity values. The findings of electronegative guests provide a new perspective for guest-filling in skutterudites, and the covalent filler/lattice interactions lead to an unusual lattice dynamics phenomenon which can be used for designing high-efficiency thermoelectric materials and novel functional inclusion compounds with open structures.