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Nano Lett. 2010 Sep 8;10(9):3283-9. doi: 10.1021/nl100804a.

Identifying the specific nanostructures responsible for the high thermoelectric performance of (Bi,Sb)2Te3 nanocomposites.

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  • 1State Key Laboratory of Advanced Technology for Materials Synthesis and Processing, Wuhan University of Technology, Wuhan 430070, People's Republic of China.


Herein, we report the synthesis of multiscale nanostructured p-type (Bi,Sb)(2)Te(3) bulk materials by melt-spinning single elements of Bi, Sb, and Te followed by a spark plasma sintering process. The samples that were most optimized with the resulting composition (Bi(0.48)Sb(1.52)Te(3)) and specific nanostructures showed an increase of approximately 50% or more in the figure of merit, ZT, over that of the commercial bulk material between 280 and 475 K, making it suitable for commercial applications related to both power generation and refrigeration. The results of high-resolution electron microscopy and small angle and inelastic neutron scattering along with corresponding thermoelectric property measurements corroborate that the 10-20 nm nanocrystalline domains with coherent boundaries are the key constituent that accounts for the resulting exceptionally low lattice thermal conductivity and significant improvement of ZT.

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