Pseudo-Superlattices of Bi2Te3 Topological Insulator Films with Enhanced Thermoelectric Performance

Abstract

It was recently suggested theoretically that atomically thin films of Bi2Te3 topological insulators have strongly enhanced thermoelectric figure of merit. We used the “graphene-like” exfoliation process to obtain Bi2Te3 thin films. The films were stacked and subjected to thermal treatment to fabricate pseudo-superlattices of single crystal Bi2Te3 films. Thermal conductivity of these structures was measured by the “hot disk” and “laser flash” techniques. The room temperature in-plane and cross-plane thermal conductivity of the stacks decreased by a factor of ~2.4 and 3.5 respectively as compared to that of bulk. The strong decrease of thermal conductivity with preserved electrical properties translates to ~140–250% increase in the thermoelectric figure if merit. It is expected that the film thinning to few-quintuples, and tuning of the Fermi level can lead to the topological insulator surface transport regime with the theoretically predicted extraordinary thermoelectric efficiency.

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Goyal, V., Teweldebrhan, D. & Balandin, A.A. Pseudo-Superlattices of Bi2Te3 Topological Insulator Films with Enhanced Thermoelectric Performance. MRS Online Proceedings Library 1344, 1208 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1557/opl.2011.1361

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