Improved Thermoelectric Materials: Skutterudite Superlattices Prepared via Kinetic Trapping from Modulated Reactants
Small Business Information
P.O. Box 609, Myrtle Creek, OR, 97457
James R. Akse
AbstractAn innovative pathway toward the synthesis of thin film and bulk thermoelectric materials based on skutterudite structures is proposed. Filled skutterudites possess large unit cell sizes, low electrical resistivities, and encaged rare earth atoms which will rattle in their oversized environment scattering phonons responsible for the undesired thermal conductivity. These physical properties make them prime candidates for thermoelectric materials. Their potential for being synthesized as the conducting layer of a quantum well superlattice with its higher density of states for the conducting layer will produce a thin film material with a potentially high thermoelectric figure of merit. The innovative pathway proposed by Umpqua Research Company (UMPQUA) involves the physical vapor deposition of elemental layers and controlled thermal annealing to produce the desired Skutterudite material. A series of Lanthanum filled (Co/Fe)4Sb12 skutterudite materials will be made with various Co:Fe ratios to optimize its thermoelectric properties. Using experience gained, a series of LaFe4Sb12/AlSb superlattice structures will be synthesized and optimized for their thermoelectric properties.
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