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CC4.03 - Panoscopic Approach: Band Alignment and All-Scale Architecturing for High Performance Thermoelectrics 
December 2, 2014   9:00am - 9:30am

Increasing the thermoelectric figure of merit can be accomplished via two general and effective approaches, nano- and meso-structuring to reduce the lattice thermal conductivity and altering the band structure to improve the power factor. Multiple methods of band structure engineering have been studied in this field but those with the ability to change the relative energy levels of the band near the Fermi energy and capable of aligning the energy level of the band structure of the a second phase added to the matrix are most effective. By aligning the valence band of the matrix and precipitate, high power factors can be maintained while reducing the lattice thermal conductivity by increasing phonon scattering with nanoprecipitates of the secondary phase. In the valence band of p-type PbQ (Q=S, Se, Te) and SnQ (Q= Se, Te) thermoelectric materials have shown large improvements in ZT by adding second phases which perform the functions of nano- and meso-structuring and at the same time present good band alignment. This strategy has been demonstrated in several systems including p-type PbTe-SrTe, PbSe-(CdS/ZnS), and PbS-CdS systems. Progress using this hierarchical panoscopic approach will be reviewed. Effects on carrier mobility, power factor and reductions in lattice thermal conductivity will be discussed and compared.

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