Gapped metals as thermoelectric materials revealed by high-throughput screening†
The typical strategy to design high performance thermoelectric materials is to dope a semiconducting material until optimal properties are obtained. However, some known thermoelectric materials such as La3Te4, Mo3Sb7, Yb14MnSb11, and NbCoSb are actually gapped metals, i.e., their band structure displays a gap slightly above or below the band crossed by the Fermi level. This key feature makes these metals comparable to degenerate semiconductors and thus suitable for thermoelectric applications. In this work, we perform a computational high-throughput search for such gapped metals exhibiting attractive thermoelectric properties. Several thousands of metals are found to present this key feature, and about one thousand of them show decent thermoelectric properties as evaluated by a computed zT. We present the different chemistry of gapped metals we discovered such as clathrates, Chevrel phases, or transition metal dichalcogenides and discuss their previous studies as thermoelectric and their potential as new thermoelectric materials.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Editor’s Choice: Machine Learning for Materials Innovation