Designing chemical analogs to PbTe with intrinsic high band degeneracy and low lattice thermal conductivity

Jiangang He, Yi Xia, S. Shahab Naghavi, Vidvuds Ozoliņš, Chris Wolverton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


High-efficiency thermoelectric materials require simultaneously high power factors and low thermal conductivities. Aligning band extrema to achieve high band degeneracy, as realized in PbTe, is one of the most efficient approaches to enhance power factor. However, this approach usually relies on band structure engineering, e.g., via chemical doping or strain. By employing first-principles methods with explicit computation of phonon and carrier lifetimes, here we show two full-Heusler compounds Li2TlBi and Li2InBi have exceptionally high power factors and low lattice thermal conductivities at room temperature. The expanded rock-salt sublattice of these compounds shifts the valence band maximum to the middle of the Σ line, increasing the band degeneracy by a factor of three. Meanwhile, resonant bonding in the PbTe-like sublattice and soft Tl–Bi (In–Bi) bonding interaction is responsible for intrinsic low lattice thermal conductivities. Our results present an alternative strategy of designing high performance thermoelectric materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number719
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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