Thermoelectric Materials Design by controlling the microstructure and composition
Thermoelectric (TE) materials are involved in a variety of devices converting waste heat into electrical energy, as well as for solid-state refrigeration. The energy conversion efficiency is determined by the dimensionless TE figure of merit, ZT. Attempts to optimize ZT require reducing the lattice thermal conductivity, while maintaining relatively high values of electrical conductivity. The PbTe- and AgSbTe2- compounds are two promising lead-antimony-silver-tellurium materials. Introducing second-phase precipitates as well as lattice point defects to these base alloys is expected to reduce their lattice thermal conductivity, thereby increasing ZT.
Threfore the aim of the current project is to design new termoelectric materials by controlling the microstructure and composition with the ultimate goal to improve the ZT factor.