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Enhanced thermoelectric performance driven by high-temperature phase transition in the phase change material Ge4SbTe5

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 May 2015

Jared B. Williams
Affiliation:
Department of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, USA
Edgar Lara-Curzio
Affiliation:
Materials Science & Technology Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37830, USA
Ercan Cakmak
Affiliation:
Materials Science & Technology Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37830, USA
Thomas Watkins
Affiliation:
Materials Science & Technology Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37830, USA
Donald T. Morelli*
Affiliation:
Department of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science, Michigan State University; and Department of Physics & Astronomy, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, USA
*
a)Address all correspondence to this author. e-mail: dmorelli@egr.msu.edu
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Abstract

Phase change materials are identified for their ability to rapidly alternate between the amorphous and crystalline phases and have large contrast in the optical/electrical properties of the respective phases. The materials are not only primarily used in memory storage applications, but also recently they have been identified as potential thermoelectric materials [D. Lencer et al., Adv. Mater.23, 2030–2058 (2011)]. Many of the phase change materials studied today can be found on the pseudo-binary (GeTe)1−x(Sb2Te3)x tie-line. While many compounds on this tie-line have been recognized as thermoelectric materials, here we focus on Ge4SbTe5, a single phase compound just off of the (GeTe)1−x(Sb2Te3)x tie-line, which forms in a stable rocksalt crystal structure at room temperature. We find that stoichiometric and undoped Ge4SbTe5 exhibits a thermal conductivity of ∼1.2 W/m K at high temperature and a large Seebeck coefficient of ∼250 μV/K. The resistivity decreases dramatically at 623 K due to a structural phase transition which leads to a large enhancement in both thermoelectric power factor and thermoelectric figure of merit at 823 K. In a more general sense, the work presents evidence that phase change materials can potentially provide a new route to highly efficient thermoelectric materials for power generation at high temperature.

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Article
Copyright
Copyright © Materials Research Society 2015 

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