Engineering half-Heusler thermoelectric materials using Zintl chemistry

Wolfgang G. Zeier, Jennifer Schmitt, Geoffroy Hautier, Umut Aydemir, Zachary M. Gibbs, Claudia Felser, G. Jeffrey Snyder*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

309 Scopus citations


Half-Heusler compounds based on XNiSn and XCoSb (X = Ti, Zr or Hf) have rapidly become important thermoelectric materials for converting waste heat into electricity. In this Review, we provide an overview on the electronic properties of half-Heusler compounds in an attempt to understand their basic structural chemistry and physical properties, and to guide their further development. Half-Heusler compounds can exhibit semiconducting transport behaviour even though they are described as 'intermetallic' compounds. Therefore, it is most useful to consider these systems as rigid-band semiconductors within the framework of Zintl (or valence-precise) compounds. These considerations aid our understanding of their properties, such as the bandgap and low hole mobility because of interstitial Ni defects in XNiSn. Understanding the structural and bonding characteristics, including the presence of defects, will help to develop different strategies to improve and design better half-Heusler thermoelectric materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16032
JournalNature Reviews Materials
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 17 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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