Nanoscale α -structural domains in the phonon-glass thermoelectric material β- Zn4 Sb3

H. J. Kim*, E. S. Božin, S. M. Haile, G. J. Snyder, S. J L Billinge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


A study of the local atomic structure of the promising thermoelectric material β- Zn4 Sb3, using atomic pair distribution function (PDF) analysis of x-ray- and neutron-diffraction data, suggests that the material is nanostructured. The local structure of the β phase closely resembles that of the low-temperature α phase. The α structure contains ordered zinc interstitial atoms which are not long range ordered in the β phase. A rough estimate of the domain size from a visual inspection of the PDF is 10 nm. It is probable that the nanoscale domains found in this study play an important role in the exceptionally low thermal conductivity of β- Zn4 Sb3.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number134103
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number13
StatePublished - Apr 18 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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