Enhanced stability and thermoelectric figure-of-merit in copper selenide by lithium doping

Stephen Dongmin Kang, Jan Hendrik Pöhls, Umut Aydemir, Pengfei Qiu, Constantinos C. Stoumpos, Riley Hanus, Mary Anne White, Xun Shi, Lidong Chen, Mercouri G. Kanatzidis, G. Jeffrey Snyder*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


Superionic thermoelectric materials have been shown to have high figure-of-merits, leading to expectations for efficient high-temperature thermoelectric generators. These compounds exhibit extremely high cation diffusivity, comparable to that of a liquid, which is believed to be associated with the low thermal conductivity that makes superionic materials good for thermoelectrics. However, the superionic behavior causes cation migration that leads to device deterioration, being the main obstacle for practical applications. It has been reported that lithium doping in superionic Cu2−xSe leads to suppression of the Cu ion diffusivity, but whether the material will retain the promising thermoelectric properties had not yet been investigated. Here, we report a maximum zT>1.4 from Li0.09Cu1.9Se, which is higher than what we find in the undoped samples. The high temperature effective weighted mobility of the doped sample is found higher than Cu2−xSe, while the lattice thermal conductivity remains similar. We find signatures of suppressed bipolar conduction due to an enlarged band gap. Our findings set forth a possible route for tuning the stability of superionic thermoelectric materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-13
Number of pages7
JournalMaterials Today Physics
StatePublished - Jun 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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