High thermoelectric performance realized through manipulating layered phonon-electron decoupling

Science. 2022 Mar 25;375(6587):1385-1389. doi: 10.1126/science.abn8997. Epub 2022 Mar 24.


Thermoelectric materials allow for direct conversion between heat and electricity, offering the potential for power generation. The average dimensionless figure of merit ZTave determines device efficiency. N-type tin selenide crystals exhibit outstanding three-dimensional charge and two-dimensional phonon transport along the out-of-plane direction, contributing to a high maximum figure of merit Zmax of ~3.6 × 10-3 per kelvin but a moderate ZTave of ~1.1. We found an attractive high Zmax of ~4.1 × 10-3 per kelvin at 748 kelvin and a ZTave of ~1.7 at 300 to 773 kelvin in chlorine-doped and lead-alloyed tin selenide crystals by phonon-electron decoupling. The chlorine-induced low deformation potential improved the carrier mobility. The lead-induced mass and strain fluctuations reduced the lattice thermal conductivity. Phonon-electron decoupling plays a critical role to achieve high-performance thermoelectrics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't