The development of reliable bonding materials for PbTe-based thermoelectric modules that can undergo long-term operations at high temperature is carried out. Two cost-effective materials, Cu and Ag, are isothermally hot-pressed to PbTe-based thermoelectric materials at 550 °C for 3 h under a pressure of 40 MPa by the rapid hot-pressing method. Scanning electron microscopy, electron probe micro-analysis, and X-ray diffraction analysis are employed to identify intermetallic compounds, chemical reactions, and microstructure evolution after the initial assembly and subsequent isothermal aging at 400 °C and 550 °C. We find that Cu diffuses faster than Ag in PbTe. Neither Cu nor Ag is a good bonding material because they both react vigorously with Pb0.6Sn0.4Te. In order to be able to use Cu electrodes, it would be necessary to insert a diffusion barrier to prevent Cu diffusion into PbTe.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Chemistry