Enhanced Thermoelectric Performance of Non-equilibrium Synthesized Fe0.4Co3.6Sb12-xGex Skutterudites via Randomly Distributed Multi-scaled Impurity Dots
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The p-type Ge doped Fe0.4Co3.6Sb12-xGex skutterudites with multi-scaled impurity dots (500 nm-2 mm) were successfully prepared by using melt-quenching (MQ) and subsequent spark plasma sintering (SPS) technique. Compared with traditional method, the new technology significantly shortened the processing time from several days to less than 24 hours. The phase of impurity dots was demonstrated to be CoSb through analysis of X-ray diffraction (XRD) and energy-dispersive spectrum (EDS). Impurity dots were induced by Ge substitution of Sb in the non-equilibrium synthesized process. Due to the abandonment of the long reaction of annealing crystallization, a few of Ge atoms would fail to substitute Sb site of skutterudite in this non-equilibrium synthesized process, leading to that the multi-scaled impurity dots randomly distributed in the matrix of skutterudite Fe0.4Co3.6Sb12-xGex. The combination of multi-scaled impurity dots scattering long wavelength heat-carrying phonons and the point defect scattering short and middle wavelength heat-carrying phonons dramatically made the 22.2% reduction of lattice thermal conductivity. As a result, compared with unsubstituted sample of Fe0.4Co3.6Sb12, the maximum ZT value was increased by 30.5%. Thus, the two marked features of this new synthesis process, the shortened preparation time and the enhanced thermoelectric performance, would make a promising commercial application in the future.
Key wordsmulti-scaled impurity dots Sb site substitution p-type thermoelectric transport properties
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