Bonding and interfacial reaction between Ni foil and n-type PbTe thermoelectric materials for thermoelectric module applications

Abstract

Integration of next generation thermoelectric materials in thermoelectric modules requires a novel or alternative approach for mating the brittle semiconducting thermoelectric materials and the ductile metal interconnects. In this study, pure Ni foil was directly bonded to PbTe-based thermoelectric materials using a rapid hot-press. The materials were sintered at 600 and 650 °C, under a pressure of 40 MPa and for various holding times. The resulting interfacial microstructures of the Ni/PbTe joints were investigated. Additionally, the distributions of elements and the phases formed at the Ni/PbTe interface were analyzed. The β2 phase (Nix Te2, 38.8–41 at.% Te) was identified at the Ni/PbTe joints bonded at both 600 and 650 °C. A ternary phase with approximate composition Ni5Pb2Te3 was found at the Ni/PbTe joints bonded at 650 °C. Additionally, the PbTe(Ni) phase was observed along the Ni grain boundaries for both bonding temperatures. Thermodynamics calculation results indicate that only the β2 phase can be formed at the Ni/PbTe interface at 900 K among the binary nickel tellurides.

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Acknowledgements

Haiyang Xia would like to thank the Tsinghua Visiting Doctoral Students Foundation and the Opening Project of State Key Laboratory of Advanced Brazing Filler Metals & Technology (Zhengzhou Research Institute of Mechanical Engineering) for their support.

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Correspondence to Haiyang Xia.

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Xia, H., Drymiotis, F., Chen, CL. et al. Bonding and interfacial reaction between Ni foil and n-type PbTe thermoelectric materials for thermoelectric module applications. J Mater Sci 49, 1716–1723 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10853-013-7857-9

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Keywords

  • Diffusion Barrier
  • PbTe
  • Reaction Layer
  • Thermal Contact Resistance
  • PbI2