T. Hogan, A. Downey, J. Short, S. D. Mahanti, H. Schock, E. Case
For thermoelectric applications, the best materials have high electrical conductivity and thermopower and, simultaneously, low thermal conductivity. Such a combination of properties is usually found in heavily doped semiconductors. Renewed interest in this topic has followed recent theoretical predictions that significant increases in performance are possible for nanostructured materials, and this has been experimentally verified. During exploratory synthetic studies of chalcogenide-based bulk thermoelectric materials it was discovered that several compounds spontaneously formed endotaxially embedded nanostructures. These compounds have some of the best known properties for bulk thermoelectric materials in the 500 800 K temperature range. Here we report our continued efforts to better understand the role of the nanostructures while concurrently furthering the development of these new materials (for example n-type lead antimony silver tellurium, and p-type lead antimony silver tin tellurium) into thermoelectricpower-generation devices.
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