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Effects of Rapid Solidification on Phase Formation and Microstructure Evolution of AgSbTe2-Based Thermoelectric Compounds

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We report on rapid solidification of an Ag16.7Sb30.0Te53.3 compound using planar flow casting to stabilize the δ-AgSbTe2 single phase and avoid precipitation of the interconnected Sb2Te3 phase, which leads to deterioration of thermoelectric properties. Rapidly solidified samples are in form of flakes with different thickness (60–400 μm). Precipitation of Sb2Te3 phase is fully inhibited in thin flakes (thickness below 100 μm), which consist of an homogeneous δ-AgSbTe2 matrix, whereas isolated Sb2Te3 precipitates, dispersed throughout the δ-AgSbTe2 matrix, were found in thick flakes (thickness above 100 μm). The lattice parameter of the δ-AgSbTe2 phase progressively increases with the cooling rate, indicating progressive supersaturation of the matrix for high degree of supercooling. Bulk specimens were prepared by hot pressing of the rapidly solidified flakes to evaluate thermoelectric properties. After sintering of the rapidly solidified flakes, the differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) traces indicates partial decomposition of the non equilibrium δ-AgSbTe2 into the stable phases. Measurements of the thermoelectric transport properties indicate the positive effects of rapid solidification on thermal conductivity and Seebeck coefficient and its negative effect on electrical conductivity, suggesting an operative way to improve thermoelectric performance.

Keywords: AgSbTe2; Metastable Phases; Rapid Solidification; Thermoelectric Materials; Thermoelectric Transport Properties

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Chemistry and NIS, University of Turin, via P. Giuria 7, 10125 Torino, Italy 2: Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, 32000 Haifa, Israel

Publication date: March 1, 2017

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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