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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Revelation of Inherently High Mobility Enables Mg3Sb2 as a Sustainable Alternative to n-Bi2Te3 Thermoelectrics.

  • Author(s): Shi, Xuemin
  • Sun, Cheng
  • Bu, Zhonglin
  • Zhang, Xinyue
  • Wu, Yixuan
  • Lin, Siqi
  • Li, Wen
  • Faghaninia, Alireza
  • Jain, Anubhav
  • Pei, Yanzhong
  • et al.

Over the past years, thermoelectric Mg3Sb2 alloys particularly in n-type conduction, have attracted increasing attentions for thermoelectric applications, due to the multivalley conduction band, abundance of constituents, and less toxicity. However, the high vapor pressure, causticity of Mg, and the high melting point of Mg3Sb2 tend to cause the inclusion in the materials of boundary phases and defects that affect the transport properties. In this work, a utilization of tantalum-sealing for melting enables n-type Mg3Sb2 alloys to show a substantially higher mobility than ever reported, which can be attributed to the purification of phases and to the coarse grains. Importantly, the inherently high mobility successfully enables the thermoelectric figure of merit in optimal compositions to be highly competitive to that of commercially available n-type Bi2Te3 alloys and to be higher than that of other known n-type thermoelectrics at 300-500 K. This work reveals Mg3Sb2 alloys as a top candidate for near-room-temperature thermoelectric applications.

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