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One-Dimensional Quantum Confinement Effect Modulated Thermoelectric Properties in InAs Nanowires

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journal contribution
posted on 20.02.2016, 04:07 by Yuan Tian, Mohammed R. Sakr, Jesse M. Kinder, Dong Liang, Michael J. MacDonald, Richard L. J. Qiu, Hong-Jun Gao, Xuan P. A. Gao
We report electrical conductance and thermopower measurements on InAs nanowires synthesized by chemical vapor deposition. Gate modulation of the thermopower of individual InAs nanowires with a diameter around 20 nm is obtained over T = 40–300 K. At low temperatures (T < ∼100 K), oscillations in the thermopower and power factor concomitant with the stepwise conductance increases are observed as the gate voltage shifts the chemical potential of electrons in InAs nanowire through quasi-one-dimensional (1D) subbands. This work experimentally shows the possibility to modulate semiconductor nanowire’s thermoelectric properties through 1D subband formation in the diffusive transport regime for electron, a long-sought goal in nanostructured thermoelectrics research. Moreover, we point out the scattering (or disorder) induced energy level broadening as the limiting factor in smearing out the 1D confinement enhanced thermoelectric power factor.