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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Insight on the Interplay between Synthesis Conditions and Thermoelectric Properties of α-MgAgSb

1
Institute of Materials Research, German Aerospace Center, Linder Hoehe, 51147 Cologne, Germany
2
European Astronaut Centre, Linder Hoehe, Cologne 51147, Germany
3
Institute of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, Justus Liebig University Gießen, Heinrich-Buff-Ring 17, 35392 Giessen, Germany
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Materials 2019, 12(11), 1857; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12111857
Received: 13 May 2019 / Revised: 2 June 2019 / Accepted: 3 June 2019 / Published: 7 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Thermoelectric Materials and Their Applications)
α-MgAgSb is a very promising thermoelectric material with excellent thermoelectric properties between room temperature and 300 °C, a range where few other thermoelectric materials show good performance. Previous reports rely on a two-step ball-milling process and/or time-consuming annealing. Aiming for a faster and scalable fabrication route, herein, we investigated other potential synthesis routes and their impact on the thermoelectric properties of α-MgAgSb. We started from a gas-atomized MgAg precursor and employed ball-milling only in the final mixing step. Direct comparison of high energy ball-milling and planetary ball-milling revealed that high energy ball milling already induced formation of MgAgSb, while planetary ball milling did not. This had a strong impact on the microstructure and secondary phase fraction, resulting in superior performance of the high energy ball milling route with an attractive average thermoelectric figure of merit of z T avg = 0.9. We also show that the formation of undesired secondary phases cannot be avoided by a modification of the sintering temperature after planetary ball milling, and discuss the influence of commonly observed secondary phases on the carrier mobility and on the thermoelectric properties of α-MgAgSb. View Full-Text
Keywords: thermoelectrics; semiconductors; synthesis optimization; MgAgSb; properties; ball-milling; sintering thermoelectrics; semiconductors; synthesis optimization; MgAgSb; properties; ball-milling; sintering
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MDPI and ACS Style

Camut, J.; Barber Rodriguez, I.; Kamila, H.; Cowley, A.; Sottong, R.; Mueller, E.; de Boor, J. Insight on the Interplay between Synthesis Conditions and Thermoelectric Properties of α-MgAgSb. Materials 2019, 12, 1857.

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