Aqueous-Solution Synthesized p-Type Cu2Se0.96Te0.04-xIx/Cu2O Composite and Thermoelectric Performance of TEG Made of 6 Pairs of p-Leg Cu2Se0.96Te0.02I0.02/Cu2O Composite and n-Leg InSb0.94Bi0.06.

Inorganic chemistry(2024)

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Abstract
Cu2Se-based thermoelectric materials exhibit high dimensionless figure of merit (zT) values at elevated temperatures (900-1000 K) but relatively lower zT values at intermediate temperatures, approximately 500 K. We synthesized a series of polycrystalline Cu2Se0.96Te0.04-xIx/Cu2O composites (where x = 0.00, 0.01, 0.02, and 0.03) using an energy-efficient synthesis method conducted at room temperature, followed by heat treatment at 923 K for 6 h. X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis confirmed the monoclinic crystal structure of the α phase. The introduction of iodine doping at Te sites introduced electron carriers to p-type Cu2Se0.96Te0.04, reducing the hole carrier concentration. Consequently, the electrical resistivity increased, and the thermopower exhibited a significant increase. The incorporation of electron carriers into the p-type Cu2Se0.96Te0.04/Cu2O composites resulted in an enhanced power factor within the medium-temperature range. Specifically, at 500 K, the Cu2Se0.96Te0.02I0.02/Cu2O (x = 0.02) composites demonstrated the highest power factor among the series of Cu2Se0.96Te0.04-xIx/Cu2O composites, measuring 9.1 μW cm-1 K-2. According to the weighted mobility analysis, it is clear that the x = 0.02 composite possesses the optimal carrier concentration, which accounts for its superior power factor compared to the other composites in the series. Furthermore, the Cu2Se0.96Te0.02I0.02/Cu2O composites and Cu2Se0.96Te0.04/Cu2O composites displayed zT values of 0.49 and 0.33, respectively, at 550 K. Additionally, iodine doping led to an enhancement in the average zT values between 450 and 550 K. Therefore, electron doping in p-type materials presents itself as a viable strategy for shifting the operating temperature of a thermoelectric device from high to medium temperature. We successfully fabricated a thermoelectric generator comprising 6 pairs of p-leg Cu2Se0.96Te0.02I0.02/Cu2O composites and n-leg InSb0.94Bi0.06. This TEG achieved impressive results, including a maximum output voltage, power output, power density, and efficiency of 0.115 V, 10.6 μW, 35.1 μW cm-2, and 1.74% at a temperature difference (ΔT) of 120 K.
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