Rare Metals

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 333–342 | Cite as

SnSe + Ag2Se composite engineering with ball milling for enhanced thermoelectric performance

  • Dan Feng
  • Yue-Xing Chen
  • Liang-Wei Fu
  • Ju Li
  • Jia-Qing He


Earth-abundant IV–VI semiconductor SnSe is regarded as a promising thermoelectric material due to its intrinsic low thermal conductivity. In this report, the highly textured SnSe/Ag2Se composites were first designed by solid solution method followed by spark plasma sintering (SPS) and their thermoelectric properties in two directions were investigated, and then, the performance of composites was further optimized with an additional ball milling. The coexistence of SnSe and Ag2Se phases is clearly confirmed by energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) in transmission electron microscopy (TEM). After ball milling, the size of SnSe grains as well as the incorporated Ag2Se particles reduces effectively, which synergistically optimizes the electrical and thermal transport properties at high temperature range. As a result, a maximum ZT of ~ 0.74 at 773 K for SnSe + 1.0%Ag2Se in the direction vertical to the pressing direction is achieved. Composite engineering with additional ball milling is thus proved to be an efficient way to improve the thermoelectric properties of SnSe, and this strategy could be applicable to other thermoelectric systems.

Graphical Abstract


Thermoelectrics SnSe Composite engineering Ball milling 



This work was financially supported by the National Science Foundation (No. DMR-1410636), the Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province (No. 2015A030308001), the Leading Talents of Guangdong Province Program (No. 00201517), the Science, Technology and Innovation Commission of Shenzhen Municipality (Nos. JCYJ20150831142508365, KQTD2016022619565991 and KQCX2015033110182370) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51632005). This work was also supported by Project funded by China Postdoctoral Science Foundation.

Supplementary material

12598_2017_994_MOESM1_ESM.doc (2.4 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 2503 kb)


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Copyright information

© The Nonferrous Metals Society of China and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory for Mechanical Behavior of Materials and Frontier Institute of Science and TechnologyXi’an Jiaotong UniversityXi’anChina
  2. 2.Shenzhen Key Laboratory of Thermoelectric Materials, Department of PhysicsSouth University of Science and Technology of ChinaShenzhenChina
  3. 3.Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering and Department of Materials Science and EngineeringMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA
  4. 4.Key Laboratory of Artificial Micro- and Nano-Structures of Ministry of Education and School of Physics and TechnologyWuhan UniversityWuhanChina

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