Role of Nanostructuring and Microstructuring in Silver Antimony Telluride Compounds for Thermoelectric Applications
Cojocaru-Mirédin, O. and Abdellaoui, L. and Nagli, M. and Zhang, S. and Yu, Y. and Scheu, C. and Raabe, D. and Wuttig, M. and Amouyal, Y.
ACS APPLIED MATERIALS AND INTERFACES
Volume: 9 Pages: 14779-14790
Thermoelectric (TE) materials are of utmost significance for conversion of heat flux into electrical power in the low-power regime. Their conversion efficiency depends strongly on the microstructure. AgSbTe2-based compounds are high-efficiency TE materials suitable for the mid-temperature range. Herein, we explore an Ag16.7Sb30Te53.3 alloy (at %) subjected to heat treatments at 380 °C for different durations aimed at nucleation and coarsening of Sb2Te3-precipitates. To characterize the Sb2Te3-precipitation, we use a set of methods combining thermal and electrical measurements in concert with transmission electron microscopy and atom probe tomography. We find correlations between the measured TE transport coefficients and the applied heat treatments. Specifically, the lowest electrical and thermal conductivity values are obtained for the as-quenched state, whereas the highest values are observed for alloys aged for 8 h. In turn, long-term heat treatments result in intermediate values of transport coefficients. We explain these findings in terms of interplay between precipitate formation and variations in the matrix composition, highlighting the importance of thermal stability of the material under service conditions. © 2017 American Chemical Society.