Thermoelectric Performance Enhancement in BiSbTe Alloy by Microstructure Modulation via Cyclic Spark Plasma Sintering with Liquid Phase

Hua Lu Zhuang, Jun Pei, Bowen Cai, Jinfeng Dong, Haihua Hu, Fu Hua Sun, Yu Pan, Gerald Jeffrey Snyder, Jing Feng Li*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

The widespread application of thermoelectric (TE) technology demands high-performance materials, which has stimulated unceasing efforts devoted to the performance enhancement of Bi2Te3-based commercialized thermoelectric materials. This study highlights the importance of the synthesis process for high-performance achievement and demonstrates that the enhancement of the thermoelectric performance of (Bi,Sb)2Te3 can be achieved by applying cyclic spark plasma sintering to BixSb2–xTe3-Te above its eutectic temperature. This facile process results in a unique microstructure characterized by the growth of grains and plentiful nanostructures. The enlarged grains lead to high charge carrier mobility that boosts the power factor. The abundant dislocations originating from the plastic deformation during cyclic liquid phase sintering and the pinning effect by the Sb-rich nano-precipitates result in low lattice thermal conductivity. Therefore, a high ZT value of over 1.46 is achieved, which is 50% higher than conventionally spark-plasma-sintered (Bi,Sb)2Te3. The proposed cyclic spark plasma liquid phase sintering process for TE performance enhancement is validated by the representative (Bi,Sb)2Te3 thermoelectric alloy and is applicable for other telluride-based materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2009681
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Volume31
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 8 2021

Keywords

  • bismuth telluride
  • liquid phase sintering
  • spark plasma sintering
  • thermoelectric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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