Concerted Rattling in CsAg5Te3Leading to Ultralow Thermal Conductivity and High Thermoelectric Performance

Hua Lin, Gangjian Tan, Jin Ni Shen, Shiqiang Hao, Li Ming Wu*, Nicholas Calta, Christos Malliakas, Si Wang, Ctirad Uher, Christopher Wolverton, Mercouri G. Kanatzidis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


Thermoelectric (TE) materials convert heat energy directly into electricity, and introducing new materials with high conversion efficiency is a great challenge because of the rare combination of interdependent electrical and thermal transport properties required to be present in a single material. The TE efficiency is defined by the figure of merit ZT=(S2σ) T/κ, where S is the Seebeck coefficient, σ is the electrical conductivity, κ is the total thermal conductivity, and T is the absolute temperature. A new p-type thermoelectric material, CsAg5Te3, is presented that exhibits ultralow lattice thermal conductivity (ca. 0.18 Wm−1K−1) and a high figure of merit of about 1.5 at 727 K. The lattice thermal conductivity is the lowest among state-of-the-art thermoelectrics; it is attributed to a previously unrecognized phonon scattering mechanism that involves the concerted rattling of a group of Ag ions that strongly raises the Grüneisen parameters of the material.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11431-11436
Number of pages6
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number38
StatePublished - Sep 12 2016


  • CsAgTe
  • concerted rattling
  • thermoelectric materials
  • tunnel structure
  • ultralow thermal conductivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)


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