In this article, we demonstrated that composition modulation of Ag2Te nanowires can be achieved during the self-templated transformation of Te nanowires into Ag2Te nanowires during solution phase synthesis, which provides a mean to tune the carrier density of the Ag2Te nanowires. Both nearly stoichiometric and Ag-rich nanowires have been synthesized, which give rise to p-type and n-type Ag2Te nanocomposites after hot press, respectively. The electrical and thermal properties of the two kinds of samples have been measured. Theoretical modeling based on the near-equilibrium Boltzmann transport equations has been used to understand the experimental results. We found that ZT of the heavily doped n-type sample reaches 0.55 at 400 K, which is the highest ZT value reported for Ag2Te at the same temperature mainly due to the reduced thermal conductivity by the nanostructures. Theoretical analysis on the carrier transport shows that the power factor is also very well optimized in the doped Ag2Te sample considering the reduced carrier mobility by the nanostructures.
Keywords: Ag2Te; Thermoelectric; nanocomposites; nanowires; silver telluride.