, Volume 41, Issue 6, pp 1792-1798
Date: 03 Apr 2012

Nanostructure, Excitations, and Thermoelectric Properties of Bi2 Te3 -Based Nanomaterials

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The effect of dimensionality and nanostructure on thermoelectric properties in Bi2Te3-based nanomaterials is summarized. Stoichiometric, single-crystalline Bi2Te3 nanowires were prepared by potential-pulsed electrochemical deposition in a nanostructured Al2O3 matrix, yielding transport in the basal plane. Polycrystalline, textured Sb2Te3 and Bi2Te3 thin films were grown at room temperature using molecular beam epitaxy and subsequently annealed at 250°C. Sb2Te3 films revealed low charge carrier density of 2.6 × 1019 cm−3, large thermopower of 130 μV K−1, and large charge carrier mobility of 402 cm2 V−1 s−1. Bi2(Te0.91Se0.09)3 and (Bi0.26Sb0.74)2Te3 nanostructured bulk samples were prepared from as-cast materials by ball milling and subsequent spark plasma sintering, yielding grain sizes of 50 nm and thermal diffusivities reduced by 60%. Structure, chemical composition, as well as electronic and phononic excitations were investigated by x-ray and electron diffraction, nuclear resonance scattering, and analytical energy-filtered transmission electron microscopy. Ab initio calculations yielded point defect energies, excitation spectra, and band structure. Mechanisms limiting the thermoelectric figure of merit ZT for Bi2Te3 nanomaterials are discussed.