Journal of Electronic Materials

, Volume 47, Issue 9, pp 5296–5301 | Cite as

Electrical Properties of a pn Heterojunction of Li-Doped NiO and Al-Doped ZnO for Thermoelectrics

  • Temesgen D. Desissa
  • Matthias Schrade
  • Truls NorbyEmail author


The electrical properties of a pn heterojunction of polycrystalline p-type Ni0.98Li0.02O and n-type Zn0.98Al0.02O have been investigated for potential applications in high-temperature oxide-based thermoelectric generators without metallic interconnects. Current–voltage characteristics of the junction were measured in a two-electrode setup in ambient air at 500–1000°C. The resistance and rectification of the junction decreased with increasing temperature. A non-ideal Shockley diode model was used to fit the measured current–voltage data in order to extract characteristic parameters of the junction, such as area-specific series resistance Rs and parallel shunt resistance Rp, non-ideality factor, and the saturation current density. Rs and Rp decreased exponentially with temperature, with activation energies of 0.4 ± 0.1 eV and 1.1 ± 0.2 eV, respectively. The interface resistance of the direct pn junction studied here is as such too high for practical applications in thermoelectrics. However, it is demonstrated that it can be reduced by an order of magnitude by using a composite of the individual materials at the interface, yielding a large effective contact area.


Li-doped NiO Al-doped ZnO pn junction composite oxide thermoelectrics 


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The authors acknowledge the Research Council of Norway (RCN) for financial support under the THELMA Project (228854) through the “Nano2021” program. We acknowledge A.E. Chatzitakis (Dept. Chemistry, Univ. Oslo) for support on the Mott-Schottky capacitance measurement and C. Zimmermann (Dept. Physics, Univ. Oslo) for writing the Python script for fitting to the Shockley diode model.


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© The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemistry, Centre for Materials Science and NanotechnologyUniversity of Oslo, FERMiOOsloNorway
  2. 2.Department of Physics, Centre for Materials Science and NanotechnologyUniversity of Oslo, FERMiOOsloNorway

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