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Title: Non-equilibrium processing leads to record high thermoelectric figure of merit in PbTe–SrTe

The broad-based implementation of thermoelectric materials in converting heat to electricity hinges on the achievement of high conversion efficiency. Here we demonstrate a thermoelectric figure of merit ZT of 2.5 at 923 K by the cumulative integration of several performance-enhancing concepts in a single material system. Using non-equilibrium processing we show that hole-doped samples of PbTe can be heavily alloyed with SrTe well beyond its thermodynamic solubility limit of <1 mol%. The much higher levels of Sr alloyed into the PbTe matrix widen the bandgap and create convergence of the two valence bands of PbTe, greatly boosting the power factors with maximal values over 30 μWcm -1 K -2. Exceeding the 5 mol% solubility limit leads to endotaxial SrTe nanostructures which produce extremely low lattice thermal conductivity of 0.5 Wm -1 K -1 but preserve high hole mobilities because of the matrix/precipitate valence band alignment. The best composition is hole-doped PbTe-8% SrTe.
Authors:
ORCiD logo [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [3] ; ORCiD logo [4] ;  [2] ;  [4] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [5]
  1. Northwestern Univ., Evanston, IL (United States). Dept. of Chemistry
  2. Northwestern Univ., Evanston, IL (United States). Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering
  3. Northwestern Univ., Evanston, IL (United States). Dept. of Chemistry; Beihang Univ., Beijing (China). School of Materials Science and Engineering
  4. Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (United States). Dept. of Physics
  5. Northwestern Univ., Evanston, IL (United States). Dept. of Chemistry; Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States). Materials Science Division
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1326596
Grant/Contract Number:
AC02-06CH11357; SC0014520
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22). Materials Sciences and Engineering Division
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE