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Published November 28, 2010 | Published
Journal Article Open

Composition and the thermoelectric performance of β-Zn_4Sb_3


β-Zn_4Sb_3 is a promising thermoelectric material due to the abundance of zinc and antimony and reports of high efficiency in bulk samples. This work establishes the high temperature properties of β-Zn_4Sb_3 across the phase stability window. By controlling the stoichiometry, the Hall carrier concentration can be tuned from 6–9 × 10^(19) cm^(−3) without requiring extrinsic dopants. The trend in Seebeck coefficient on carrier concentration is rationalized with a single, parabolic band model. Extremely low lattice thermal conductivity (0.4–0.6 W m^(−1) K^(−1)) coupled with a moderate effective mass (1.2 m_e) and mobility leads to a large figure of merit (zT of 0.8 by 550 K). The single parabolic band model is used to obtain the carrier concentration dependence of the figure of merit and an optimum carrier concentration near 5 × 10^(19) cm^(−3) is predicted.

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© 2010 The Royal Society of Chemistry. Received 25th June 2010, Accepted 5th August 2010.

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