Colloidal AgSbSe2 nanocrystals: surface analysis, electronic doping and processing into thermoelectric nanomaterials†
We present a high-yield and scalable colloidal synthesis to produce monodisperse AgSbSe2 nanocrystals (NCs). Using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, we characterized the NC surface chemistry and demonstrate the presence of surfactants in dynamic exchange, which controls the NC growth mechanism. In addition, these NCs were electronically doped by introducing small amounts of bismuth. To demonstrate the technological potential of such processed material, after ligand removal by means of NaNH2, AgSbSe2 NCs were used as building blocks to produce thermoelectric (TE) nanomaterials. A preliminary optimization of the doping concentration resulted in a thermoelectric figure of merit (ZT) of 1.1 at 640 K, which is comparable to the best ZT values obtained with a Pb- and Te-free material in this middle temperature range, with the additional advantage of the high versatility and low cost associated with solution processing technologies.