Influence of a nano phase segregation on the thermoelectric properties of the p-type doped stannite compound Cu 2+xZn 1-xGeSe 4

Wolfgang G. Zeier, Aaron Lalonde, Zachary M. Gibbs, Christophe P. Heinrich, Martin Panthöfer, G. Jeffrey Snyder*, Wolfgang Tremel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations

Abstract

Engineering nanostructure in bulk thermoelectric materials has recently been established as an effective approach to scatter phonons, reducing the phonon mean free path, without simultaneously decreasing the electron mean free path for an improvement of the performance of thermoelectric materials. Herein the synthesis, phase stability, and thermoelectric properties of the solid solutions Cu 2+xZn 1-xGeSe 4 (x = 0-0.1) are reported. The substitution of Zn 2+ with Cu + introduces holes as charge carriers in the system and results in an enhancement of the thermoelectric efficiency. Nano-sized impurities formed via phase segregation at higher dopant contents have been identified and are located at the grain boundaries of the material. The impurities lead to enhanced phonon scattering, a significant reduction in lattice thermal conductivity, and therefore an increase in the thermoelectric figure of merit in these materials. This study also reveals the existence of an insulator-to-metal transition at 450 K.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7147-7154
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Volume134
Issue number16
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 25 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Catalysis
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

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