Tuning bands of PbSe for better thermoelectric efficiency

Heng Wang*, Zachary M. Gibbs, Yoshiki Takagiwa, G. Jeffrey Snyder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

160 Scopus citations


Improving the thermoelectric performance of PbSe over its previously reported maximum zT can be achieved by engineering its electronic band structure. We demonstrate here, using optical absorption spectra, first principles calculations, and temperature dependent transport measurements, that alloying PbSe with SrSe leads to a dramatic change of the band structure that increases the thermoelectric figure of merit, zT. The temperature where the two valence bands converge decreases with Sr addition. The zT value, when the carrier density is optimized, increases with Sr addition in Pb 1-xSrxSe and when x = 0.08 a maximum zT of 1.5 at 900 K is achieved. The net benefit in zT comes from the band structure tuning even though in other thermoelectric solid solutions it is the thermal conductivity reduction from disorder that leads to net zT improvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)804-811
Number of pages8
JournalEnergy and Environmental Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Pollution


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