Self-Tuning n-Type Bi2(Te,Se)3/SiC Thermoelectric Nanocomposites to Realize High Performances up to 300 °C

Yu Pan, Umut Aydemir, Fu Hua Sun, Chao Feng Wu, Thomas C. Chasapis, G. Jeffrey Snyder*, Jing Feng Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Bi2Te3 thermoelectric materials are utilized for refrigeration for decades, while their application of energy harvesting requires stable thermoelectric and mechanical performances at elevated temperatures. This work reveals that a steady zT of ≈0.85 at 200 to 300 °C can be achieved by doping small amounts of copper iodide (CuI) in Bi2Te2.2Se0.8–silicon carbide (SiC) composites, where SiC nanodispersion enhances the flexural strength. It is found that CuI plays two important roles with atomic Cu/I dopants and CuI precipitates. The Cu/I dopants show a self-tuning behavior due to increasing solubility with increasing temperatures. The increased doping concentration increases electrical conductivity at high temperatures and effectively suppresses the intrinsic excitation. In addition, a large reduction of lattice thermal conductivity is achieved due to the “in situ” CuI nanoprecipitates acting as phonon-scattering centers. Over 60% reduction of bipolar thermal conductivity is achieved, raising the maximum useful temperature of Bi2Te3 for substantially higher efficiency. For module applications, the reported materials are suitable for segmentation with a conventional ingot. This leads to high device ZT values of ≈0.9–1.0 and high efficiency up to 9.2% from 300 to 573 K, which can be of great significance for power generation from waste heat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1700259
JournalAdvanced Science
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2017


  • bismuth-telluride-selenide
  • device figure of merit
  • self-tuning
  • thermoelectrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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