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For filled skutterudites, element Yb is one of the most common and important fillers. However, the optimal carrier concentration range in Y bCoSb filled skutterudites has not been determined as a result of the low Yb filling fraction limit. In this study, a non-equilibrium fabrication process (MS-SPS process), consisting of a melt-spinning method and a spark plasma sintering technique, has been applied to prepare Y bCoSb samples. The Yb filling fraction is successfully extended to 0.35, which provides the possibility to clarify the optimal carrier concentration range for Yb-filled skutterudites. High carrier concentrations, with a maximum of around 1 × 1021 cm−3, were achieved in the MS-SPS Y bCoSb samples due to the significantly enhanced Yb filling fractions. The phase compositions, lattice parameters, electrical and thermal transport properties of the MS-SPS Y bCoSb samples with high carrier concentrations were systematically investigated. An optimal carrier concentration range of around 5 ∼ 6 × 1020 cm−3, corresponding to the actual Yb filling fraction of around 0.21∼0.26, has been determined, which displays the highest thermoelectric performance in Y bCoSb thermoelectric materials.


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