Intrinsic anharmonic localization in thermoelectric PbSe.
ABSTRACT: Lead chalcogenides have exceptional thermoelectric properties and intriguing anharmonic lattice dynamics underlying their low thermal conductivities. An ideal material for thermoelectric efficiency is the phonon glass-electron crystal, which drives research on strategies to scatter or localize phonons while minimally disrupting electronic-transport. Anharmonicity can potentially do both, even in perfect crystals, and simulations suggest that PbSe is anharmonic enough to support intrinsic localized modes that halt transport. Here, we experimentally observe high-temperature localization in PbSe using neutron scattering but find that localization is not limited to isolated modes - zero group velocity develops for a significant section of the transverse optic phonon on heating above a transition in the anharmonic dynamics. Arrest of the optic phonon propagation coincides with unusual sharpening of the longitudinal acoustic mode due to a loss of phase space for scattering. Our study shows how nonlinear physics beyond conventional anharmonic perturbations can fundamentally alter vibrational transport properties.
Project description:The lattice dynamics and high-temperature structural transition in SnS and SnSe are investigated via inelastic neutron scattering, high-resolution Raman spectroscopy and anharmonic first-principles simulations. We uncover a spectacular, extreme softening and reconstruction of an entire manifold of low-energy acoustic and optic branches across a structural transition, reflecting strong directionality in bonding strength and anharmonicity. Further, our results solve a prior controversy by revealing the soft-mode mechanism of the phase transition that impacts thermal transport and thermoelectric efficiency. Our simulations of anharmonic phonon renormalization go beyond low-order perturbation theory and capture these striking effects, showing that the large phonon shifts directly affect the thermal conductivity by altering both the phonon scattering phase space and the group velocities. These results provide a detailed microscopic understanding of phase stability and thermal transport in technologically important materials, providing further insights on ways to control phonon propagation in thermoelectrics, photovoltaics, and other materials requiring thermal management.
Project description:Nanoporous architecture has long been predicted theoretically for its proficiency in suppressing thermal conduction, but less concerned as a practical approach for better thermoelectric materials hitherto probably due to its technical challenges. This article demonstrates a study on nanoporous PbSe-SiO2 composites fabricated by a facile method of mechanical alloying assisted by subsequent wet-milling and then spark plasma sintering. Owing to the formation of random nanopores and additional interface scattering, the lattice thermal conductivity is limited to a value as low as 0.56 W m-1 K-1 at above 600 K, almost the same low level achieved by introducing nanoscale precipitates. Besides, the room-temperature electrical transport is found to be dominated by the grain-boundary potential barrier scattering, whose effect fades away with increasing temperatures. Consequently, a maximum ZT of 1.15 at 823 K is achieved in the PbSe + 0.7 vol% SiO2 composition with >20% increase in average ZT, indicating the great potential of nanoporous structuring toward high thermoelectric conversion efficiency.
Project description:Optimizing multiple materials properties which are simultaneously in competition with each other is one of the chief challenges in thermoelectric materials research. Introducing greater anharmonicity to vibrational modes is one strategy for suppressing phonon thermal transport in crystalline oxides without detrimentally affecting electronic conductivity, so that the overall thermoelectric efficiency can be improved. Based on perturbed molecular dynamics and associated numerical analyses, we show that CoO2 layers in layered cobaltite thermoelectrics NaxCoO2 and Ca3Co4O9 are responsible for most of the in-plane heat transport in these materials, and that the non-conducting intermediate layers in the two materials exhibit different kinds of anharmonicity. More importantly, thermal conduction is shown to be altered by modifying the structure of the intermediate layers. The simulation methods developed to quantify the effect of anharmonic atomic vibrations on thermal conductivity provide a new tool for the rational design of thermoelectric materials, and the insights gained should hasten the attainment of higher conversion efficiencies so that thermoelectrics can be put to widespread practical use.
Project description:PbSe is a surprisingly good thermoelectric material due, in part, to its low thermal conductivity that had been overestimated in earlier measurements. The thermoelectric figure of merit, zT, can exceed 1 at high temperatures in both p-type and n-type PbSe, similar to that found in PbTe. While the p-type lead chalcogenides (PbSe and PbTe) benefit from the high valley degeneracy (12 or more at high temperature) of the valence band, the n-type versions are limited to a valley degeneracy of 4 in the conduction band. Yet the n-type lead chalcogenides achieve a zT nearly as high as the p-type lead chalcogenides. This effect can be attributed to the weaker electron-phonon coupling (lower deformation potential coefficient) in the conduction band as compared with that in the valence band, which leads to higher mobility of electrons compared to that of holes. This study of PbSe illustrates the importance of the deformation potential coefficient of the charge-carrying band as one of several key parameters to consider for band structure engineering and the search for high performance thermoelectric materials.
Project description:A fundamental understanding of the phonon transport mechanism is important for optimizing the efficiency of thermoelectric devices. In this study, we investigate the thermal transport properties of the oxidized form of phosphorene called phosphorene oxide (PO) by solving phonon Boltzmann transport equation based on first-principles density functional theory. We reveal that PO exhibits a much lower thermal conductivity (2.42-7.08?W/mK at 300?K) than its pristine counterpart as well as other two-dimensional materials. To comprehend the physical origin of such low thermal conductivity, we scrutinize the contribution of each phonon branch to the thermal conductivity by evaluating various mode-dependent quantities including Grüneisen parameters, anharmonic three-phonon scattering rate, and phase space of three-phonon scattering processes. Our results show that its flexible puckered structure of PO leads to smaller sound velocities; its broken-mirror symmetry allows more ZA phonon scattering; and the relatively-free vibration of dangling oxygen atoms in PO gives rise to additional scattering resulting in further reduction in the phonon lifetime. These results can be verified by the fact that PO has larger phase space for three-phonon processes than phosphorene. Furthermore we show that the thermal conductivity of PO can be optimized by controlling its size or its phonon mean free path, indicating that PO can be a promising candidate for low-dimensional thermoelectric devices.
Project description:Thermal transport and phonon-phonon coupling in monolayer hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) under equibiaxial strains are investigated from first principles. Phonon spectra at elevated temperatures have been calculated from perturbation theory using the third-order anharmonic force constants. The stiffening of the out-of-plane transverse acoustic mode (ZA) near the Brillouin zone center and the increase of acoustic phonon lifetimes are found to contribute to the dramatic increase of thermal transport in strained h-BN. The transverse optical mode (TO) at the K point, which was predicted to lead to mechanical failure of h-BN, is found to shift to lower frequencies at elevated temperatures under equibiaxial strains. The longitudinal and transverse acoustic modes exhibit broad phonon spectra under large strains in sharp contrast to the ZA mode, indicating strong in-plane phonon-phonon coupling.
Project description:In materials science, the substructure approach consists in imagining complex materials in which a particular property is associated with a distinct structural feature, so as to combine different chosen physical characteristics, which otherwise have little chance to coexist. Applied to thermoelectric materials, it has been used to achieve simultaneously phonon-glass and electron-crystal properties. Mostly studied for its superionic conductivity, AgCrSe2 is a naturally layered compound, which achieves very low thermal conductivity, ~0.4?W.K(-1).m(-1) at RT (room temperature), and is considered a promising thermoelectric. The Cr atoms of the [CrSe2]? layer bear a spin S?=?3/2, which orders below TN?=?55?K. Here we report low temperature inelastic neutron scattering experiments on AgCrSe2, alongside the magnetic field evolution of its thermal and electrical transport. We observe a very low frequency mode at 3?meV, ascribed to large anharmonic displacements of the Ag(+) ions in the [Ag]? layer, and 2D magnetic fluctuations up to 3 TN in the chromium layer. The low thermal conductivity of AgCrSe2 is attributed to acoustic phonon scattering by a regular lattice of Ag(+) oscillating in quasi-2D potential wells. These findings highlight a new way to achieve localised phonon modes in a perfectly crystalline solid.
Project description:Low thermal conductivity is favorable for preserving the temperature gradient between the two ends of a thermoelectric material, in order to ensure continuous electron current generation. In high-performance thermoelectric materials, there are two main low thermal conductivity mechanisms: the phonon anharmonic in PbTe and SnSe, and phonon scattering resulting from the dynamic disorder in AgCrSe2 and CuCrSe2, which have been successfully revealed by inelastic neutron scattering. Using neutron scattering and ab initio calculations, we report here a mechanism of static local structure distortion combined with phonon-anharmonic-induced ultralow lattice thermal conductivity in ?-MgAgSb. Since the transverse acoustic phonons are almost fully scattered by the compound's intrinsic distorted rocksalt sublattice, the heat is mainly transported by the longitudinal acoustic phonons. The ultralow thermal conductivity in ?-MgAgSb is attributed to its atomic dynamics being altered by the structure distortion, which presents a possible microscopic route to enhance the performance of similar thermoelectric materials.
Project description:The data presented in this article are related to the research article entitled "High thermoelectric performance in pseudo quaternary compounds of (PbTe)0.95-x (PbSe)x(PbS)0.05 by simultaneous band convergence and nano precipitation" (Ginting et al., 2017) . We measured electrical and thermal transport properties such as temperature-dependent Hall carrier density nH , Hall mobility ?H , thermal diffusivity D, heat capacity Cp , and power factor S2? in (PbTe)0.95-x (PbSe)x(PbS)0.05 (x=0.0, 0.05, 0.10, 0.15, 0.20, 0.35, and 0.95) compounds with other related compounds from references. From the theoretical fitting of thermal conductivity ?, we found that the temperature-dependent thermal conductivity follows nano-structure model as well as alloy scattering. Transmission electron microscopy images shows that there are numerous nano-scale precipitates in a matrix. Owing to the low thermal conductivity and high power factor, we report high thermoelectric performances such as the high ZT, engineering ZTeng , efficiency ?.
Project description:Strain engineering is a practical method to tune and improve the physical characteristics and properties of two-dimensional materials, due to their large stretchability. Tensile strain dependence of electronic, phonon, and thermoelectric properties of InSe monolayer are systematically studied. We demonstrate that the lattice thermal conductivity can be effectively modulated by applying tensile strain. Tensile strain can enhance anharmonic phonon scattering, giving rise to the enhanced phonon scattering rate, reduced phonon group velocity and heat capacity, and therefore lattice thermal conductivity decreases from 25.9 to 13.1 W/mK when the strain of 6% is applied. The enhanced figure of merit indicates that tensile strain is an effective way to improve the thermoelectric performance of InSe monolayer.