Publication Details

Han, C., Sun, Q., Cheng, Z. Xiang., Wang, J. Li., Li, Z., Lu, G. & Dou, S. Xue. (2014). Ambient scalable synthesis of surfactant-free thermoelectric CuAgSe nanoparticles with reversible metallic-n-p conductivity transition. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 136 (50), 17626-17633.


Surfactant-free CuAgSe nanoparticles were successfully synthesized on a large scale within a short reaction time via a simple environmentally friendly aqueous approach under room temperature. The nanopowders obtained were consolidated into pellets for investigation of their thermoelectric properties between 3 and 623 K. The pellets show strong metallic characteristics below 60 K and turn into an n-type semiconductor with increasing temperature, accompanied by changes in the crystal structure (i.e., from the pure tetragonal phase into a mixture of tetragonal and orthorhombic phases), the electrical conductivity, the Seebeck coefficient, and the thermal conductivity, which leads to a figure of merit (ZT) of 0.42 at 323 K. The pellets show further interesting temperature-dependent transition from n-type into p-type in electrical conductivity arising from phase transition (i.e., from the mixture phases into cubic phase), evidenced by the change of the Seebeck coefficient from -28 μV/K into 226 μV/K at 467 K. The ZT value increased with increasing temperature after the phase transition and reached 0.9 at 623 K. The sintered CuAgSe pellets also display excellent stability, and there is no obvious change observed after 5 cycles of consecutive measurements. Our results demonstrate the potential of CuAgSe to simultaneously serve (at different temperatures) as both an n-type and a p-type thermoelectric material.

Grant Number

ARC/DP130102274, ARC/DP130102699, ARC/LP120200289