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Enhancing average ZT
in pristine PbSe by over-stoichiometric Pb addition
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PbSe is an inexpensive alternative for PbTe as a mid-temperature thermoelectric
material, but few investigations have been reported about its intrinsic properties despite recent efforts on doping techniques. In this work, pristine PbSe bulk materials were synthesized by a process combining mechanical alloying and spark plasma sintering, which is increasingly used for processing thermoelectric
materials, and their electrical and thermal transport properties as well as thermoelectric performance were investigated in a wide temperature range. A maximum ZT ∼0.83 was obtained at 673 K in nominal composition PbSe + 3 or 4 at. % Pb, leading to nearly 50% enhancement from reported n-type pristine PbSe, mainly benefitting from the improved electrical performance. Furthermore, the potential thermoelectric efficiency was also improved due to the enhanced low-temperature performance, showing a high average ZT of 0.6 that is even comparable to that of commercial n-type Bi2Te3
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