Antimony telluride (Sb2Te3) has a very low ZT value at room temperature, even though the alloys of Bi2Te3 and Sb2Te3 are the most widely used thermoelectric materials. Taking advantage of nano-structures and topological insulators (TIs), we report that high ZT values of larger than 2 can be achieved in one quintuple-layer (QL, ZT ≥ 2.1) and 4 QLs (ZT ≥ 2.2) of Sb2Te3 at room temperature, while the ZT value for bulk is around 0.5. For 1 QL, Seebeck coefficient has been greatly enhanced due to the increase in the number of band extrema by virtue of the twelvefold valley degeneracy from surface states. For 4 QLs, the high ZT value is attributed to the much longer surface relaxation time associated with the robust nature of the topological surface states. Moreover, the ZT values and the TI character of few-quintuple Sb2Te3 nanofilms demonstrate thickness(layer)-dependent behaviors. Our results offer significant clues for future applications and investigations of Sb2Te3-related quintuple layers as promising p-type thermoelectric materials and quasi-2D topological insulators for nanoelectronics.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Materials Science(all)
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering