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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.


PROVIDER: S-EPMC6486597 | BioStudies | 2019-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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