Chin. Phys. Lett.  2021, Vol. 38 Issue (11): 117201    DOI: 10.1088/0256-307X/38/11/117201
Enhanced Thermoelectric Properties of Cu$_{x}$Se ($1.75 \le x \le 2.10$) during Phase Transitions
Zhongmou Yue1,2, Kunpeng Zhao3*, Hongyi Chen4, Pengfei Qiu1,2, Lidong Chen1,2, and Xun Shi1,2*
1State Key Laboratory of High Performance Ceramics and Superfine Microstructure, Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200050, China
2Center of Materials Science and Optoelectronics Engineering, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3State Key Laboratory of Metal Matrix Composites, School of Materials Science and Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China
4College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Central South University, Changsha 410083, China
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Zhongmou Yue, Kunpeng Zhao, Hongyi Chen et al  2021 Chin. Phys. Lett. 38 117201
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Abstract Coupling of a phase transition to electron and phonon transports provides extra degree of freedom to improve the thermoelectric performance, while the pertinent experimental and theoretical studies are still rare. Particularly, the impaction of chemical compositions and phase transition characters on the abnormal thermoelectric properties across phase transitions are largely unclear. Herein, by varying the Cu content $x$ from 1.75 to 2.10, we systemically investigate the crystal structural evolution, phase transition features, and especially the thermoelectric properties during the phase transition for Cu$_{x}$Se. It is found that the addition of over-stoichiometry Cu in Cu$_{x}$Se could alter the phase transition characters and suppress the formation of Cu vacancies. The critical scatterings of phonons and electrons during phase transitions strongly enhance the Seebeck coefficient and diminish the thermal conductivity, leading to an ultrahigh dimensionless thermoelectric figure of merit of $\sim $1.38 at 397 K in Cu$_{2.10}$Se. With the decreasing Cu content, the critical electron and phonon scattering behaviors are mitigated, and the corresponding thermoelectric performances are reduced. This work offers inspirations for understanding and tuning the thermoelectric transport properties during phase transitions.
Received: 26 August 2021      Published: 27 October 2021
PACS:  72.15.Jf (Thermoelectric and thermomagnetic effects)  
  72.20.Pa (Thermoelectric and thermomagnetic effects)  
  73.50.Lw (Thermoelectric effects)  
  68.35.Rh (Phase transitions and critical phenomena)  
Fund: Supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (Grant No. 2018YFB0703600), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 91963208, 51625205, 51961135106, and 51902199), Shanghai Government (Grant No. 20JC1415100), the CAS-DOE Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. 121631KYSB20180060), and the Shanghai Sailing Program (Grant No. 19YF1422800).
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Zhongmou Yue
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