High-thermoelectric performance of nanostructured bismuth antimony telluride bulk alloys

Bed Poudel, Qing Hao, Yi Ma, Yucheng Lan, Austin Minnich, Bo Yu, Xiao Yan, Dezhi Wang, Andrew Muto, Daryoosh Vashaee, Xiaoyuan Chen, Junming Liu, Mildred S. Dresselhaus, Gang Chen, Zhifeng Ren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3351 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The dimensionless thermoelectric figure of merit (ZT) in bismuth antimony telluride (BiSbTe) bulk alloys has remained around 1 for more than 50 years. We show that a peak ZT of 1.4 at 100°C can be achieved in a p-type nanocrystalline BiSbTe bulk alloy. These nanocrystalline bulk materials were made by hot pressing nanopowders that were ball-milled from crystalline ingots under inert conditions. Electrical transport measurements, coupled with microstructure studies and modeling, show that the ZT improvement is the result of low thermal conductivity caused by the increased phonon scattering by grain boundaries and defects. More importantly, ZT is about 1.2 at room temperature and 0.8 at 250°C, which makes these materials useful for cooling and power generation. Cooling devices that use these materials have produced high-temperature differences of 86°, 106°, and 119°C with hot-side temperatures set at 50°, 100°, and 150°C, respectively. This discovery sets the stage for use of a new nanocomposite approach in developing high-performance low-cost bulk thermoelectric materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)634-638
Number of pages5
JournalScience
Volume320
Issue number5876
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2 2008

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Antimony
Phonons
Thermal Conductivity
Nanocomposites
Temperature
Nanoparticles
Hot Temperature
Costs and Cost Analysis
Equipment and Supplies
bismuth telluride

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

Cite this

Poudel, Bed ; Hao, Qing ; Ma, Yi ; Lan, Yucheng ; Minnich, Austin ; Yu, Bo ; Yan, Xiao ; Wang, Dezhi ; Muto, Andrew ; Vashaee, Daryoosh ; Chen, Xiaoyuan ; Liu, Junming ; Dresselhaus, Mildred S. ; Chen, Gang ; Ren, Zhifeng. / High-thermoelectric performance of nanostructured bismuth antimony telluride bulk alloys. In: Science. 2008 ; Vol. 320, No. 5876. pp. 634-638.
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author = "Bed Poudel and Qing Hao and Yi Ma and Yucheng Lan and Austin Minnich and Bo Yu and Xiao Yan and Dezhi Wang and Andrew Muto and Daryoosh Vashaee and Xiaoyuan Chen and Junming Liu and Dresselhaus, {Mildred S.} and Gang Chen and Zhifeng Ren",
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Poudel, B, Hao, Q, Ma, Y, Lan, Y, Minnich, A, Yu, B, Yan, X, Wang, D, Muto, A, Vashaee, D, Chen, X, Liu, J, Dresselhaus, MS, Chen, G & Ren, Z 2008, 'High-thermoelectric performance of nanostructured bismuth antimony telluride bulk alloys', Science, vol. 320, no. 5876, pp. 634-638. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1156446

High-thermoelectric performance of nanostructured bismuth antimony telluride bulk alloys. / Poudel, Bed; Hao, Qing; Ma, Yi; Lan, Yucheng; Minnich, Austin; Yu, Bo; Yan, Xiao; Wang, Dezhi; Muto, Andrew; Vashaee, Daryoosh; Chen, Xiaoyuan; Liu, Junming; Dresselhaus, Mildred S.; Chen, Gang; Ren, Zhifeng.

In: Science, Vol. 320, No. 5876, 02.05.2008, p. 634-638.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Poudel, Bed

AU - Hao, Qing

AU - Ma, Yi

AU - Lan, Yucheng

AU - Minnich, Austin

AU - Yu, Bo

AU - Yan, Xiao

AU - Wang, Dezhi

AU - Muto, Andrew

AU - Vashaee, Daryoosh

AU - Chen, Xiaoyuan

AU - Liu, Junming

AU - Dresselhaus, Mildred S.

AU - Chen, Gang

AU - Ren, Zhifeng

PY - 2008/5/2

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N2 - The dimensionless thermoelectric figure of merit (ZT) in bismuth antimony telluride (BiSbTe) bulk alloys has remained around 1 for more than 50 years. We show that a peak ZT of 1.4 at 100°C can be achieved in a p-type nanocrystalline BiSbTe bulk alloy. These nanocrystalline bulk materials were made by hot pressing nanopowders that were ball-milled from crystalline ingots under inert conditions. Electrical transport measurements, coupled with microstructure studies and modeling, show that the ZT improvement is the result of low thermal conductivity caused by the increased phonon scattering by grain boundaries and defects. More importantly, ZT is about 1.2 at room temperature and 0.8 at 250°C, which makes these materials useful for cooling and power generation. Cooling devices that use these materials have produced high-temperature differences of 86°, 106°, and 119°C with hot-side temperatures set at 50°, 100°, and 150°C, respectively. This discovery sets the stage for use of a new nanocomposite approach in developing high-performance low-cost bulk thermoelectric materials.

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