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Off-stoichiometric silver antimony telluride: An experimental study of transport properties with intrinsic and extrinsic doping
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AgSbTe2 is a thermoelectric semiconductor with an intrinsically low thermal conductivity and a valence band structure that is favorable to obtaining a high thermoelectric figure of merit zT. It also has a very small energy gap Eg ∼ 7.6 ± 3 meV. As this gap is less than the thermal excitation energy at room temperature, near-intrinsic AgSbTe2 is a two carrier system having both holes (concentration p) and electrons (n). Good thermoelectric performance requires heavy p-type doping (p > > n). This can be achieved with native defects or with extrinsic doping, e.g. with transition metal element. The use of defectdoping is complicated by the fact that many of the ternary Ag-Sb-Te and pseudo-binary Sb2Te3-Ag2Te phase diagrams are contradictory. This paper determines the compositional region most favorable to creating a single phase material. Through a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic doping, values of zT > 1 are achieved, though not on single-phased material. Additionally, we show that thermal conductivity is not affected by defects, further demonstrating that the low lattice thermal conductivity of I-V-VI2 materials is due to an intrinsic mechanism, insensitive to changes in defect structure.
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