Interfacial reactions between PbTe-based thermoelectric materials and Cu and Ag bonding materials

C. C. Li, F. Drymiotis, L. L. Liao, H. T. Hung, J. H. Ke, C. K. Liu, C. R. Kao*, G. J. Snyder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10590-10596
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry C
Issue number40
StatePublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Chemistry


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