Relating phase transition heat capacity to thermal conductivity and effusivity in Cu2Se

David R. Brown, Richard Heijl, Kasper A. Borup, Bo B. Iversen, Anders Palmqvist, G. J. Snyder*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Accurate measurement of thermal conductivity is essential to determine the thermoelectric figure-of-merit, zT. Near the phase transition of Cu2Se at 410 K, the transport properties change rapidly with temperature, and there is a concurrent peak in measured heat capacity from differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). Interpreting the origin as a broad increase in heat capacity or as a transient resulted in a three-fold difference in the reported zT in two recent publications. To resolve this discrepancy, thermal effusivity was deduced from thermal conductivity and diffusivity measurements via the transient plane source (TPS) method and compared with that calculated from thermal diffusivity and the two interpretations of the DSC data for heat capacity. The comparison shows that the DSC measurement gave the heat capacity relevant for calculation of the thermal conductivity of Cu2Se. The thermal conductivity calculated this way follows the electronic contribution to thermal conductivity closely, and hence the main cause of the zT peak is concluded to be the enhanced Seebeck coefficient. (

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)618-621
Number of pages4
JournalPhysica Status Solidi - Rapid Research Letters
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • copper selenide
  • differential scanning calorimetry
  • heat capacity
  • thermal effusivity
  • thermoelectrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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