Thermoelectric properties of the aliovalent half-Heusler alloy Zn0.5Ti0.5NiSb with intrinsic low thermal conductivity

Blair Kennedy, Simon Kimber, Stefano Checchia, A. K. M. Ashiquzzaman Shawon, Alexandra Zevalkink, E. Suard, Jim Buckman, Jan-Willem G. Bos*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Using mixtures of aliovalent elements to achieve a valence balanced electronic state is a rapidly emerging area in half-Heusler thermoelectric materials research. Here, we report on Zn0.5Ti0.5NiSb, a combination of ZnNiSb and TiNiSb, which by adjusting the Zn/Ti-ratio can be made p- and n-type, achieving peak zT = 0.18 at 793 K and zT = 0.33 at 700 K, respectively. These promising values are underpinned by a low lattice thermal conductivity, κL = 2.7 W m−1 K−1 at 340 K, similar for all samples, decreasing to 1.25 W m−1 K−1 at 793 K. Transport data reveal similar weighted electronic mobilities for p- and n-type samples, suggesting similar zT should be possible. For both polarities, a transition to degenerate conduction is observed, superposed on intrinsic semiconducting behaviour with a bandgap Eg = 0.4 eV. Neutron and synchrotron X-ray diffraction experiments, including total scattering, indicate the absence of interstitial metals and do not reveal strong local structural variations. The absence of substantial mass disorder and lattice strain points towards bond disorder as a possible origin for the low κL. This work describes a new materials system and provides further insight into the impact of aliovalent alloying in the half-Heusler structure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23566-23575
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry A
Volume11
Issue number43
Early online date12 Oct 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2023

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