Three-Dimensional Atom-Probe Tomographic Analyses of Lead-Telluride Based Thermoelectric Materials

Yoon Jun Kim, Ivan D. Blum, Jiaqing He, Mercouri G. Kanatzidis, Vinayak P. Dravid, David N. Seidman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Precipitates in bulk p-type thermoelectric materials, PbTe-SrTe and PbTe-PbS, are studied using three-dimensional (3-D) atom-probe tomography (APT). APT is capable of characterizing chemically materials in 3-D with subnano-scale spatial resolution on an atom-by-atom basis, which enables us to characterize secondary phases in the PbTe matrix as well as the dopant distributions at different imperfections. We demonstrate that APT provides accurate information about the compositions and morphologies of nanoprecipitates. In the PbTe-SrTe system, different morphology of precipitates is observed and the SrTe composition is confirmed. Also, segregation of Na dopants at mesoscale imperfections, dislocations and grain boundaries, and at matrix/precipitate interfaces is observed. In the PbTe-PbS system, PbS precipitates are observed. The PbS precipitates exhibit faceting, and have a morphology that depends on the bulk Na concentration. A predominance of {100} faceted precipitates is observed for 2 mol.% Na. Using 3-D APT, we demonstrate that Na segregation at matrix/precipitate interfaces is most likely responsible for the change in their morphologies, which occurs by reducing the interfacial free energy of {100} facets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2288-2297
Number of pages10
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)


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