Thermoelectric Generators from AgBiTe and AgSbTe Thin Films Modified by High-Energy Beam
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The ternary chalcogenides AgBiTe2 and AgSbTe2 belong to the family of semiconductors with disordered NaCl cubic structure in which Ag and Sb occupy metal sublattices. Both compounds are very interesting due to their thermoelectric properties. We have grown single-layer AgBiTe and AgSbTe thin films on silicon (Si) and fused silica (Suprasil) substrates using electron beam deposition. High-energy (MeV) Si-ion bombardment was performed on the thin-film samples at five different fluences between 5 × 1013 ions/cm2 and 7 × 1015 ions/cm2. We have measured the thermoelectric efficiency (figure of merit, ZT) of the fabricated thermoelectric devices by measuring the cross-plane thermal conductivity using the third-harmonic (3ω) method, the cross-plane Seebeck coefficient, and the in-plane electrical conductivity using the van der Pauw method before and after MeV Si-ion bombardment. Rutherford backscattering spectrometry and the Rutherford Universal Manipulation Program (RUMP) simulation package were used to analyze the elemental composition and thickness of the deposited materials on the substrates. The RUMP simulation gave thicknesses for the AgBiTe and AgSbTe thin films of 270 nm and 188 nm, respectively. The figure of merit for AgBiTe started to decrease from the value of 0.37 for the virgin sample after bombardment. We saw similar decreasing behavior for the AgSbTe thin-film system. The figure of merit for AgSbTe started to decrease from the value of 0.88 for the virgin sample after bombardment. MeV Si-ion bombardment caused changes in the thermoelectric properties of the thin films.
KeywordsThermoelectric properties thin films Rutherford backscattering spectrometry (RBS) figure of merit
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Research sponsored by Materials Research Laboratory (MRL), National Science Foundation under NSF-EPSCOR R-II-3 Grant No. EPS-1158862, DOD under Nanotechnology Infrastructure Development for Education and Research through the Army Research Office # W911 NF-08-1-0425, and DOD Army Research Office # W911 NF-12-1-0063, US Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Admin with Grant # DE-NA0001896 and Grant # DE-NA0002687, NSF-REU with Award # 1156137.
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