Author(s) Ferrer-Argemi, L.; Yu, Z.; Kim, J.; Myung, N.V.; Lim, J.H.; Lee, J.
Journal Sci Rep
Date Published 2019 Jun 25

While electrodeposited antimony telluride thin films with silver contents demonstrated promising thermoelectric properties, their thermal conductivity and the silver content dependence remain unknown. Here, we report the thermal conductivities of AgSbTe and AgSbTe thin films with controlled annealing and temperature conditions and demonstrate the impact of silver content on thermal transport. After annealing at 160 °C, the room-temperature thermal conductivity of AgSbTe and AgSbTe thin films increases from 0.24 to 1.59 Wm K and from 0.17 to 0.56 Wm K, respectively. Using phonon transport models and X-ray diffraction measurements, we attribute the thermal conductivity increases to the crystal growth and explain the thermal conductivity variations with the degree of crystallization. Unlike electrical properties reported in previous studies, the presence of silver contents has little impact on the thermal conductivity of AgSbTe and leads to a strong reduction in the thermal conductivity of AgSbTe thin films. By performing transient thermal conductivity measurements at 94 °C, we find the crystallization activation energy of AgSbTe and AgSbTe films as 1.14 eV and 1.16 eV, respectively. Their differences reveal the role of silver in inhibiting the nucleation and growth of SbTe crystals and impeding thermal transport. These findings provide guidance for optimizing doping and annealing conditions of antimony tellurides for near-room-temperature thermoelectric applications.

DOI 10.1038/s41598-019-45697-9
ISSN 2045-2322
Citation Sci Rep. 2019;9(1):9242.

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