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Electronic tuning of the transport properties of off-stoichiometric Pb
Te thermoelectric alloys by Bi2
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The recent energy demands affected by the dilution of conventional energy resources and the growing awareness of environmental considerations had motivated many researchers to seek for novel renewable energy conversion methods. Thermoelectric direct conversion of thermal into electrical energies is such a method, in which common compositions include IV-VI semiconducting compounds (e.g., PbTe and SnTe) and their alloys. For approaching practical thermoelectric devices, the current research is focused on electronic optimization of off-stoichiometric p-type Pb
Te alloys by tuning of Bi2Te3
doping and/or SnTe
alloying levels, while avoiding the less mechanically favorable Na
dopant. It was shown that upon such doping/alloying, higher ZTs, compared to those of previously reported undoped Pb
0.5Sn0.5Te alloy, were obtained at temperatures lower than 210–340 °C, depending of the exact doping/alloying level. It was demonstrated that upon optimal grading of the carrier concentration, a maximal thermoelectric efficiency enhancement of ∼38%, compared to that of an undoped material, is expected.
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