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Low-Temperature Thermoelectric Power Factor Enhancement by Controlling Nanoparticle Size Distribution

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journal contribution
posted on 12.01.2011, 00:00 by Mona Zebarjadi, Keivan Esfarjani, Zhixi Bian, Ali Shakouri
Coherent potential approximation is used to study the effect of adding doped spherical nanoparticles inside a host matrix on the thermoelectric properties. This takes into account electron multiple scatterings that are important in samples with relatively high volume fraction of nanoparticles (>1%). We show that with large fraction of uniform small size nanoparticles (∼1 nm), the power factor can be enhanced significantly. The improvement could be large (up to 450% for GaAs) especially at low temperatures when the mobility is limited by impurity or nanoparticle scattering. The advantage of doping via embedded nanoparticles compared to the conventional shallow impurities is quantified. At the optimum thermoelectric power factor, the electrical conductivity of the nanoparticle-doped material is larger than that of impurity-doped one at the studied temperature range (50−500 K) whereas the Seebeck coefficient of the nanoparticle doped material is enhanced only at low temperatures (∼50 K).