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Semiconductor Nanocrystals Functionalized with Antimony Telluride Zintl Ions for Nanostructured Thermoelectrics

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journal contribution
posted on 19.05.2010, 00:00 by Maksym V. Kovalenko, Boris Spokoyny, Jong-Soo Lee, Marcus Scheele, Andrew Weber, Susanthri Perera, Daniel Landry, Dmitri V. Talapin
The energy efficiency of heat engines could be improved by the partial recovery of waste heat using thermoelectric (TE) generators. We show the possibility of designing nanostructured TE materials using colloidal inorganic nanocrystals functionalized with molecular antimony telluride complexes belonging to the family of Zintl ions. The unique advantage of using Zintl ions as the nanocrystal surface ligands is the possibility to convert them into crystalline metal chalcogenides, thus linking individual nanobuilding blocks into a macroscopic assembly of electronically coupled functional modules. This approach allows preserving the benefits of nanostructuring and quantum confinement while enabling facile charge transport through the interparticle boundaries. A developed methodology was applied for solution-based fabrication of nanostructured n- and p-type Bi2−xSbxTe3 alloys with tunable composition and PbTe−Sb2Te3 nanocomposites with controlled grain size. Characterization of the TE properties of these materials showed that their Seebeck coefficients, electrical and thermal conductivities, and ZT values compared favorably with those of previously reported solution-processed TE materials.