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Thermal conductivity reduction in fullerene-enriched p-type bismuth telluride composites



We present a systematic study of the effects of fullerene nanoinclusions upon a p-type bismuth–antimony–telluride matrix, where the ultimate goal is maximizing the figure of merit by reducing the thermal conductivity (TC). Nanocomposites consisting of a bismuth–telluride matrix with fullerene inclusions have been prepared both by mechanical mixing and ball milling, with the final consolidation in each case achieved by uniaxial hot pressing. A series of samples was produced with fullerene concentrations ranging from fractional levels to several molar percent, and the effects of the fullerene additions upon the resulting microstructure have been considered. Thermal and electrical transport properties have been measured from 10 to 300 K, and the data are discussed in light of the underlying physical mechanisms.