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Copper ion liquid-like thermoelectrics

Liu, Huili and Shi, Xun and Xu, Fangfang and Zhang, Linlin and Zhang, Wenqing and Chen, Lidong and Li, Qiang and Uher, Ctirad and Day, Tristan and Snyder, G. Jeffrey (2012) Copper ion liquid-like thermoelectrics. Nature Materials, 11 (5). pp. 422-425. ISSN 1476-1122.

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Advanced thermoelectric technology offers a potential for converting waste industrial heat into useful electricity, and an emission-free method for solid state cooling. Worldwide efforts to find materials with thermoelectric figure of merit, zT values significantly above unity, are frequently focused on crystalline semiconductors with low thermal conductivity. Here we report on Cu_(2−x)Se, which reaches a zT of 1.5 at 1,000 K, among the highest values for any bulk materials. Whereas the Se atoms in Cu_(2−x)Se form a rigid face-centred cubic lattice, providing a crystalline pathway for semiconducting electrons (or more precisely holes), the copper ions are highly disordered around the Se sublattice and are superionic with liquid-like mobility. This extraordinary ‘liquid-like’ behaviour of copper ions around a crystalline sublattice of Se in Cu_(2−x)Se results in an intrinsically very low lattice thermal conductivity which enables high zT in this otherwise simple semiconductor. This unusual combination of properties leads to an ideal thermoelectric material. The results indicate a new strategy and direction for high-efficiency thermoelectric materials by exploring systems where there exists a crystalline sublattice for electronic conduction surrounded by liquid-like ions.

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Snyder, G. Jeffrey0000-0003-1414-8682
Additional Information:© 2012 Macmillan Publishers. Received 10 October 2011. Accepted 08 February 2012. Published online 11 March 2012. This work is in part supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) Grants (51121064 and 50825205), Shanghai Science and Technology Commission (Pujiang Program with No. 11PJ1410200 and Program of Shanghai Subject Chief Scientist with No. 09XD1404400), and CAS/SAFEA International Partnership Program for Creative Research Teams. F.X. wishes to acknowledge the support of the National Basic Research Program of China (973 program) under Project 2009CB939904 and NSFC Grants (60936001). C.U. wishes to acknowledge the support of the Center for Solar and Thermal Energy Conversion Research Center funded by the Department of Energy (DOE) under No. DE-SC00000957. G.J.S. acknowledges support from AFOSR-MURI. Q.L. acknowledges support from the US DOE, Office of Basic Energy Science, Materials Sciences and Engineering Division, under contract no. DEAC0298CH10886. Author contributions: H.L. and X.S. prepared the samples and measured the thermoelectric properties. F.X., W.Z., L.C., Q.L., G.J.S. and C.U. provided discussion on the experimental data. F.X. and L.Z. performed TEM measurements and analysis. T.D. and G.J.S. performed room-temperature speed of sound measurements. H.L., X.S., L.C., Q.L., C.U. and G.J.S. wrote and edited the manuscript.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)51121064
National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)50825205
Shanghai Science and Technology Commission Pujiang Program11PJ1410200
Program of Shanghai Subject Chief Scientist09XD1404400
CAS/SAFEA International PartnershipUNSPECIFIED
National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program)2009CB939904
National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)60936001
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-SC00000957
Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI)UNSPECIFIED
Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Basic Energy Science, Materials Sciences and Engineering DivisionDEAC0298CH10886
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20120515-153615460
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Official Citation:Copper ion liquid-like thermoelectrics - pp422 - 425 Huili Liu, Xun Shi, Fangfang Xu, Linlin Zhang, Wenqing Zhang, Lidong Chen, Qiang Li, Ctirad Uher, Tristan Day & G. Jeffrey Snyder doi:10.1038/nmat3273
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:31483
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:16 May 2012 21:38
Last Modified:04 Oct 2016 19:02

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