Flexible n-type thermoelectric materials by organic intercalation of layered transition metal dichalcogenide TiS2

Nat Mater. 2015 Jun;14(6):622-7. doi: 10.1038/nmat4251. Epub 2015 Apr 6.


Organic semiconductors are attracting increasing interest as flexible thermoelectric materials owing to material abundance, easy processing and low thermal conductivity. Although progress in p-type polymers and composites has been reported, their n-type counterpart has fallen behind owing to difficulties in n-type doping of organic semiconductors. Here, we present an approach to synthesize n-type flexible thermoelectric materials through a facile electrochemical intercalation method, fabricating a hybrid superlattice of alternating inorganic TiS2 monolayers and organic cations. Electrons were externally injected into the inorganic layers and then stabilized by organic cations, providing n-type carriers for current and energy transport. An electrical conductivity of 790 S cm(-1) and a power factor of 0.45 mW m(-1) K(-2) were obtained for a hybrid superlattice of TiS2/[(hexylammonium)x(H2O)y(DMSO)z], with an in-plane lattice thermal conductivity of 0.12 ± 0.03 W m(-1) K(-1), which is two orders of magnitude smaller than the thermal conductivities of the single-layer and bulk TiS2. High power factor and low thermal conductivity contributed to a thermoelectric figure of merit, ZT, of 0.28 at 373 K, which might find application in wearable electronics.