Formation of Cu nanoparticles in layered Bi2Te3 and their effect on ZT enhancement

Mi Kyung Han, Kyunghan Ahn, Heejin Kim, Jong Soo Rhyee, Sung Jin Kim

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96 Scopus citations


Compounds of CuxBi2Te3 (0 ≤ x ≤ 0.1) were studied to measure the effect of Cu intercalation on their thermoelectric properties. HR-TEM images of freshly fractured surfaces of Cu 0.07Bi2Te3 showed that Cu nanoparticles formed in the van der Waals gaps between Te layers in Bi2Te3. Such nanoparticles acted as electron donors, changing the native p-type character of Bi2Te3 to n-type. They also acted as phonon scatters, reducing thermal conductivity. Cu0.07Bi2Te 3 had high electrical conductivity of 681 S cm-1 and Seebeck coefficient of -236 μV K-1 with low thermal conductivity of 1.0 W m-1 K-1, thus enhancing the figure of merit, ZT, to 1.15 at approximately 300 K. The intercalation of metal nanoparticles between Te layers in Bi2Te3 is a promising strategy for the preparation of highly efficient n-type thermoelectric materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11365-11370
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry
Issue number30
StatePublished - 14 Aug 2011


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