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Sputtered p-type Sb2Te3/(Bi,Sb)2Te3 soft superlattices created by nanoalloying

: Winkler, M.; Liu, X.; König, J.; Kirste, L.; Böttner, H.; Bensch, W.; Kienle, L.


Journal of Electronic Materials 41 (2012), Nr.6, S.1322-1331
ISSN: 0361-5235
ISSN: 1543-186X
International Conference on Thermoelectrics (ICT) <30, 2011, Traverse City/Mich.>
Zeitschriftenaufsatz, Konferenzbeitrag
Fraunhofer IPM ()
p-type; Sb2Te3; (Bi,Sb)2Te3; superlattice; sputtering; nanoalloying; thermoelectric; high power factor

In this work, p-type nanoscale soft superlattices consisting of multilayer stacks of 25 nm Sb2Te3 on 25 nm (Bi0.2Sb0.8)2Te3 were fabricated by nanoalloying. With this technique, nanoscale layers of the elements Bi, Sb, and Te are deposited by sputtering onto a Si/SiO2 substrate and subsequently annealed to induce interdiffusion and a solid-state reaction to form the final superlattices. Different combinations of annealing temperatures were used in the annealing process. The in-plane electronic properties (Seebeck coefficient, electrical conductivity, charge carrier concentration, and carrier mobility) of these soft superlattices were examined. The cross-plane thermal conductivity was determined using time-domain thermal reflectance (TDTR). Secondary-ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) depth pro files reveal that the nanostructured thin films exhibit high stability against thermal interdiffusion during the annealing process. X-ray patterns of the samples display very strong texture with preferred c-orientation of the crystallites after the heat treatment. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) cross-section images of the films show distinctly polycrystalline structure with increasing grain size for higher annealing temperatures, as confirmed by x-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis. Very high power factors exceeding 40 μW/cm K2, similar to values for bulk single crystals with comparable compositions, are observed for the soft superlattices. The nanostructure appears to be stable up to 300°C. For a sample annealed at 150°C, a thermal conductivity as low as 0.45 W/mK was determined. Bas ed on different assumptions concerning the degree of anisotropy of the transport properties, a cross-plane figure of merit ZT of 0.6 to 1.9 can be estimated for the thin films annealed at 300°C.