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Enhancing the Thermoelectric and Mechanical Properties of p-Type PbS through Band Convergence and Microstructure Regulation.

Nano Letters 2024 June 22
While lead sulfide shows notable thermoelectric properties, its production costs remain high, and its mechanical hardness is low, which constrains its commercial viability. Herein, we demonstrate a straightforward and cost-effective method to produce PbS nanocrystals at ambient temperature. By introducing controlled amounts of silver, we achieve p-type conductivity and fine-tune the energy band structure and lattice configuration. Computational results show that silver shifts the Fermi level into the valence band, facilitating band convergence and thereby enhancing the power factor. Besides, excess silver is present as silver sulfide, which effectively diminishes the interface barrier and enhances the Seebeck coefficient. Defects caused by doping, along with dislocations and interfaces, reduce thermal conductivity to 0.49 W m-1 K-1 at 690 K. Moreover, the alterations in crystal structure and chemical composition enhance the PbS mechanical properties. Overall, optimized materials show thermoelectric figures of merit approximately 10-fold higher than that of pristine PbS, alongside an average hardness of 1.08 GPa.

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