Observed properties and electronic structure of RNiSb compounds (R = Ho, Er, Tm, Yb and Y). Potential thermoelectric materials

S. Sportouch*, P. Larson, M. Bastea, P. Brazis, J. Ireland, C. R. Kannewurf, S. D. Mahanti, C. Uher, M. G. Kanatzidis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The RNiSb compounds (R=Ho, Er, Tm, Yb and Y) and some selected solid solution members such as (Zr1-xErx)Ni(Sn1-xSbx) and ErNiSb1-xPnx (Pn=As, Sb, Bi) have been studied. They all crystallize in the MgAgAs structure type, which can be considered as a NaCl structure type in which half of the interstitial tetrahedral sites are occupied by Ni atoms. The measured values of the Seebeck coefficients, at room temperature, are positive for RNiSb (R=Ho, Er, Yb and Y) compounds and ErNiSb1-xPnx (Pn=As, Sb, Bi) solid solutions, but for (Zr1-xErx)Ni(Sn1-xSbx) members vary from negative to positive values when 0 < x < 1. Some of these compounds show metallic conductivity while others exhibit thermally activated charge transport. Solid solutions of these materials have lower thermal conductivities than the pure members, RNiSb (R=Ho, Er, Yb and Y) and ZrNiSn. The electronic structures of RNiSb compounds, where R is Y, La, Lu, and Yb, have been studied with density functional theory. The results of the calculations for these systems, except for the Yb compound, indicate narrow gap semiconductors with large effective masses near the conduction band extrema. The Yb system is expected to show heavy fermion characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-433
Number of pages13
JournalMaterials Research Society Symposium - Proceedings
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999
EventProceedings of the 1998 MRS Fall Meeting - The Symposium 'Advanced Catalytic Materials-1998' - Boston, MA, USA
Duration: Nov 30 1998Dec 3 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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