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Nano Lett. 2010 Aug 11;10(8):2825-31. doi: 10.1021/nl100743q.

In situ nanostructure generation and evolution within a bulk thermoelectric material to reduce lattice thermal conductivity.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208, USA.


We show experimentally the direct reduction in lattice thermal conductivity as a result of in situ nanostructure generation within a thermoelectric material. Solid solution alloys of the high-performance thermoelectric PbTe-PbS 8% can be synthesized through rapid cooling and subsequent high-temperature activation that induces a spontaneous nucleation and growth of PbS nanocrystals. The emergence of coherent PbS nanostructures reduces the lattice thermal conductivity from approximately 1 to approximately 0.4 W/mK between 400 and 500 K.

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