We explored the effect of K and K-Na substitution for Pb atoms in the lattice of PbTe, in an effort to test a hypothesis for the development of a resonant state that may enhance the thermoelectric power. At 300K the data can adequately be explained by a combination of a single and two-band model for the valence band of PbTe depending on hole density that varies in the range 1-15 × 1019 cm-3. A change in scattering mechanism was observed in the temperature dependence of the electrical conductivity, σ, for samples concurrently doped with K and Na which results in significantly enhanced σ at elevated temperatures and hence power factors. Thermal conductivity data provide evidence of a strong interaction between the light- and the heavy-hole valence bands at least up to 500K. Figure of merits as high as 1.3 at 700K were measured as a result of the enhanced power factors.
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Androulakis, J., Todorov, I., Chung, DY. et al. High thermoelectric efficiency in co-doped degenerate p-type PbTe. MRS Online Proceedings Library 1267, 403 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-1267-DD04-03