Valley degeneracy is a key feature of the electronic structure that benefits the thermoelectric performance of a material. Despite recent studies which claim that high valley degeneracy can be achieved with inverted bands, our analysis of rock-salt IV–VI compounds using first-principles calculations and k·p perturbation theory demonstrates that mere band inversion is an insufficient condition for high valley degeneracy; rather, there is a critical degree to which the bands must be inverted to induce multiple carrier pockets. The so-called “band inversion parameter” is formalized as a chemically-tunable property, offering a design route to achieving high valley degeneracy in compounds with inverted bands. We predict that the valley degeneracy of rock-salt IV–VI compounds can be increased from NV = 4 to NV = 24, which could result in a corresponding increase in the thermoelectric figure of merit zT.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Materials Science(all)