Large Enhancements in the Thermoelectric Power Factor of Bulk PbTe at High Temperature by Synergistic Nanostructuring


  • The authors would like to thank the Office of Naval Research (MURI program) for funding. Portions of the scanning and transmission electron microscopy work was performed in the (EPIC) (NIFTI) (Keck-II) facility of NUANCE Center at Northwestern University. NUANCE Center is supported by NSF-NSEC, NSF-MRSEC, Keck Foundation, the State of Illinois, and Northwestern University.


original image

Co-nanostructuring of PbTe with two kinds of metallic nanoparticles (Pb and Sb) can significantly increase its power factor at high temperatures (up to 87 % at 700 K; see picture, ZT=figure of merit). The electrical conductivity is dramatically increased at high temperatures without degrading the thermopower. This emergent synergy results only when both Pb and Sb nanocrystals are present.