The effective mass is a convenient descriptor of the electronic band structure used to characterize the density of states and electron transport based on a free electron model. While effective mass is an excellent first-order descriptor in real systems, the exact value can have several definitions, each of which describe a different aspect of electron transport. Here we use Boltzmann transport calculations applied to ab initio band structures to extract a density-of-states effective mass from the Seebeck Coefficient and an inertial mass from the electrical conductivity to characterize the band structure irrespective of the exact scattering mechanism. We identify a Fermi Surface Complexity Factor: N∗vK∗from the ratio of these two masses, which in simple cases depends on the number of Fermi surface pockets (N∗v) and their anisotropy K∗, both of which are beneficial to high thermoelectric performance as exemplified by the high values found in PbTe. The Fermi Surface Complexity factor can be used in high-throughput search of promising thermoelectric materials.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Modeling and Simulation
- Materials Science(all)
- Mechanics of Materials
- Computer Science Applications