Beneficial Effect of Na2CO3 Additions on the Thermoelectric Performance of Melt-Route Cu2Se
Advanced Electronic Materials
High-performance thermoelectric materials require simultaneous reduction of thermal conductivity and electrical resistivity, among other criteria. Here it is shown that the introduction of Na2CO3 into the melt-route fabrication process for the well-known thermoelectric Cu2Se has a beneficial and surprisingly strong effect. There is a significant enhancement in electrical conductivity which density functional theory calculations suggest may be due to the effect of Na and O doping in the Cu2Se matrix. There is also a 34% reduction in thermal conductivity which is likely due to a high density of defects causing scattering of phonons. Overall, however, there is only relatively a small change in Seebeck coefficient. A higher power factor of 12.6 µW cm−1 K−2 is achieved versus 8.8 µW cm−1 K−2 for standard Cu2Se. A very high value of zT of 2.3 is obtained at 804 K versus 1.1 for standard Cu2Se.
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Australian Research Council