Enhanced thermoelectric figure-of-merit in p-type nanostructured bismuth antimony tellurium alloys made from elemental chunks

Yi Ma, Qing Hao, Bed Poudel, Yucheng Lan, Bo Yu, Dezhi Wang, Gang Chen, Zhifeng Ren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

439 Scopus citations

Abstract

By ball milling alloyed bulk crystalline ingots into nanopowders and hot pressing them, we had demonstrated high figure-of-merit in nanostructured bulk bismuth antimony telluride. In this study, we use the same ball milling and hot press technique, but start with elemental chunks of bismuth, antimony, and tellurium to avoid the ingot formation step. We show that a peak ZT of about 1.3 in the temperature range of 75 and 100 °C has been achieved. This process is more economical and environmentally friendly than starting from alloyed bulk crystalline ingots. The ZT improvement is caused mostly by the lower thermal conductivity, similar as the case using ingot. Transmission electron microscopy observations of the microstructures suggest that the lower thermal conductivity is mainly due to the increased phonon scattering from the increased grain boundaries of the nanograins, precipitates, nanodots, and defects. Our material also exhibits a ZT of 0.7 at 250 °C, similar to the value obtained when ingot was used. This study demonstrates that high ZT values can be achieved in nanostructured bulk materials with ball milling elemental chunks, suggesting that the approach can be applied to other materials that are hard to be made into ingot, in addition to its advantage of lower manufacturing cost.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2580-2584
Number of pages5
JournalNano Letters
Volume8
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering

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