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Open AccessArticle

Roles of Cu in the Enhanced Thermoelectric Properties in Bi0.5Sb1.5Te3

State Key Laboratory of High Performance Ceramics and Superfine Microstructure, Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200050, China
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 19 Yuquan Road, Beijing 100049, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paz Vaqueiro
Materials 2017, 10(3), 251;
Received: 19 January 2017 / Revised: 18 February 2017 / Accepted: 24 February 2017 / Published: 1 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Thermoelectric Materials)
Recently, Cu-containing p-type Bi0.5Sb1.5Te3 materials have shown high thermoelectric performances and promising prospects for practical application in low-grade waste heat recovery. However, the position of Cu in Bi0.5Sb1.5Te3 is controversial, and the roles of Cu in the enhancement of thermoelectric performance are still not clear. In this study, via defects analysis and stability test, the possibility of Cu intercalation in p-type Bi0.5Sb1.5Te3 materials has been excluded, and the position of Cu is identified as doping at the Sb sites. Additionally, the effects of Cu dopants on the electrical and thermal transport properties have been systematically investigated. Besides introducing additional holes, Cu dopants can also significantly enhance the carrier mobility by decreasing the Debye screen length and weakening the interaction between carriers and phonons. Meanwhile, the Cu dopants interrupt the periodicity of lattice vibration and bring stronger anharmonicity, leading to extremely low lattice thermal conductivity. Combining the suppression on the intrinsic excitation, a high thermoelectric performance—with a maximum thermoelectric figure of merit of around 1.4 at 430 K—has been achieved in Cu0.005Bi0.5Sb1.495Te3, which is 70% higher than the Bi0.5Sb1.5Te3 matrix. View Full-Text
Keywords: bismuth telluride; thermoelectric; defect; microstructures bismuth telluride; thermoelectric; defect; microstructures
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Hao, F.; Qiu, P.; Song, Q.; Chen, H.; Lu, P.; Ren, D.; Shi, X.; Chen, L. Roles of Cu in the Enhanced Thermoelectric Properties in Bi0.5Sb1.5Te3. Materials 2017, 10, 251.

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