Indexed on: 17 Sep '14Published on: 17 Sep '14Published in: Dalton Transactions
Zintl phases are attractive for thermoelectric applications due to their complex structures and bonding environments. The Zintl compounds Ca(5)Al(2)In(x)Sb(6)and Ca(5)Al(2)In(x)Sb(6) have both been shown to have promising thermoelectric properties, with zT values of 0.6 and 0.7, respectively, when doped to control the carrier concentration. Alloying can often be used to further improve thermoelectric materials in cases when the decrease in lattice thermal conductivity outweighs reductions to the electronic mobility. Here we present the high temperature thermoelectric properties of the Ca(5)Al(2-x)In(x)Sb(6)solid solution. Undoped and optimally Zn-doped samples were investigated. X-ray diffraction confirms that a full solid solution exists between the Al and In end-members. We find that the Al : In ratio does not greatly influence the carrier concentration or Seebeck effect. The primary effect of alloying is thus increased scattering of both charge carriers and phonons, leading to significantly reduced electronic mobility and lattice thermal conductivity at room temperature. Ultimately, the figure of merit is unaffected by alloying in this system, due to the competing effects of reduced mobility and lattice thermal conductivity.