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Ferroelectric engineering: Enhanced thermoelectric performance by local structural heterogeneity

Journal Article


Abstract


  • Although traditional ferroelectric materials are usually dielectric and nonconductive, GeTe is a typical ferroelectric semiconductor, possessing both ferroelectric and semiconducting properties. GeTe is also a widely studied thermoelectric material, whose performance has been optimized by doping with various elements. However, the impact of the ferroelectric domains on the thermoelectric properties remains unclear due to the difficulty to directly observe the ferroelectric domains and their evolutions under actual working conditions where the material is exposed to high temperatures and electric currents. Herein, based on in-situ investigations of the ferroelectric domains and domain walls in both pure and Sb-doped GeTe crystals, we have been able to analyze the dynamic evolution of the ferroelectric domains and domain walls, exposed to an electric field and temperature. Local structural heterogeneities and nano-sized ferroelectric domains are generated due to the interplay of the Sb3+ dopant and the Ge-vacancies, leading to the increased number of charged domain walls and a much improved thermoelectric performance. This work reveals the fundamental mechanism of ferroelectric thermoelectrics and provides insights into the decoupling of previously interdependent properties such as thermo-power and electrical conductivity.

Publication Date


  • 2022

Citation


  • Meng, X., Chen, S., Peng, H., Bai, H., Zhang, S., Su, X., . . . Wu, J. (2022). Ferroelectric engineering: Enhanced thermoelectric performance by local structural heterogeneity. Science China Materials, 65(6), 1615-1622. doi:10.1007/s40843-021-1927-9

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85124135216

Start Page


  • 1615

End Page


  • 1622

Volume


  • 65

Issue


  • 6

Place Of Publication


Abstract


  • Although traditional ferroelectric materials are usually dielectric and nonconductive, GeTe is a typical ferroelectric semiconductor, possessing both ferroelectric and semiconducting properties. GeTe is also a widely studied thermoelectric material, whose performance has been optimized by doping with various elements. However, the impact of the ferroelectric domains on the thermoelectric properties remains unclear due to the difficulty to directly observe the ferroelectric domains and their evolutions under actual working conditions where the material is exposed to high temperatures and electric currents. Herein, based on in-situ investigations of the ferroelectric domains and domain walls in both pure and Sb-doped GeTe crystals, we have been able to analyze the dynamic evolution of the ferroelectric domains and domain walls, exposed to an electric field and temperature. Local structural heterogeneities and nano-sized ferroelectric domains are generated due to the interplay of the Sb3+ dopant and the Ge-vacancies, leading to the increased number of charged domain walls and a much improved thermoelectric performance. This work reveals the fundamental mechanism of ferroelectric thermoelectrics and provides insights into the decoupling of previously interdependent properties such as thermo-power and electrical conductivity.

Publication Date


  • 2022

Citation


  • Meng, X., Chen, S., Peng, H., Bai, H., Zhang, S., Su, X., . . . Wu, J. (2022). Ferroelectric engineering: Enhanced thermoelectric performance by local structural heterogeneity. Science China Materials, 65(6), 1615-1622. doi:10.1007/s40843-021-1927-9

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85124135216

Start Page


  • 1615

End Page


  • 1622

Volume


  • 65

Issue


  • 6

Place Of Publication