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Correlations between Structural and Electronic Properties in the Filled Skutterudite Smy(FexNi1–x)4Sb12

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posted on 19.02.2016, 00:00 by Cristina Artini, Gilda Zanicchi, Giorgio Andrea Costa, Maria Maddalena Carnasciali, Carlo Fanciulli, Riccardo Carlini
A structural study of the filled skutterudite Smy(FexNi1–x)4Sb12 was performed by means of X-ray powder diffraction and μ-Raman spectroscopy with the aim to unveil the correlations between structural and electronic properties of this material and to favor the improvement of its thermoelectric performance. Samples were prepared by direct reaction of the elements at 1223 K, followed by quenching and subsequent sintering at 873 K; microstructure and composition of the obtained products were determined by SEM-EDS. The position of the boundary separating regions that obey hole- and electron-based conduction mechanisms was found by X-ray diffraction at x ≈ 0.63 and y ≈ 0.30, confirmed by measurements of room-temperature Seebeck coefficient, and discussed on the basis of crystallographic data. The presence of a discontinuity is observed in several structural and spectroscopic parameters at the p/n crossover; it is interpreted as associated with the change in the conduction mechanism. The role of the rare earth filling fraction in driving the structural response of the material is investigated too. The advantage of using X-ray diffraction and μ-Raman spectroscopy as aids in the study of electronic properties of this material is highlighted, as well as the complementarity of the two techniques.