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Thermoelectric properties of Au nanoparticle-supported Sb1.6Bi0.4Te3 synthesized by a γ-ray irradiation method



SbBiTe alloys have been some of the most efficient thermoelectric materials near room temperature. Here we synthesized a complete nanocomposite using γ-ray irradiation, in which Au/AuTe2 nanoparticles are dispersed uniformly without aggregation in the Sb1.6Bi0.4Te3 matrix. The lattice thermal conductivity was significantly reduced mainly due to the increased number of interfaces for phonon scattering between the nanoparticles and the matrix phase, thereby resulting in clear enhancement of dimensionless figure of merit (ZT). The maximum ZT value of the Au/AuTe2 nanoparticle-supported Sb1.6Bi0.4Te3 nanocomposite was 1.01 at 423 K, which is about 18% higher than the maximum ZT value of Sb1.6Bi0.4Te3.