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Realizing N‑type SnTe Thermoelectrics with Competitive Performance through Suppressing Sn Vacancies

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journal contribution
posted on 02.06.2021, 14:09 by Huimei Pang, Yuting Qiu, Dongyang Wang, Yongxin Qin, Rong Huang, Zhenzhong Yang, Xiao Zhang, Li-Dong Zhao
Due to the intrinsically plentiful Sn vacancies, developing n-type SnTe thermoelectric materials is a big challenge. Herein, n-type SnTe thermoelectric materials with remarkable performance were successfully synthesized through suppressing Sn vacancies, followed by electron-doping. Pb alloying notably depressed the Sn vacancies via populating Sn vacancies in SnTe (supported by transmission electron microscopy), and the electrical transports were shifted from p-type to n-type through introducing electrons using I doping. In the n-type SnTe, we found that the electrical conductivity could be enhanced by increased carrier mobility through sharpening conduction bands after alloying Pb, while the lattice thermal conductivity could be reduced via strong phonon scattering after introducing defects by Pb alloying and I doping. Resulting from these enhancements, the n-type Sn0.6Pb0.4Te0.98I0.02 achieves a notably high ZTmax ∼ 0.8 at 573 K and a remarkable ZTave ∼ 0.51 at 300–823 K, which can match many excellent p-type SnTe. This work indicates that n-type SnTe could be experimentally acquired and is a promising candidate for thermoelectric generation, which will stimulate further research on n-type SnTe thermoelectric materials and even devices on the basis of both n- and p-type SnTe legs.

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