Enhancing the Thermoelectric Figure of Merit by Low-Dimensional Electrical Transport in Phonon-Glass Crystals

XY Mi and XX Yu and KL Yao and XM Huang and N Yang and JT Lu, NANO LETTERS, 15, 5229-5234 (2015).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b01491

Low-dimensional electronic and glassy phononic transport are two important ingredients of highly efficient thermoelectric materials, from which two branches of thermoelectric research have emerged. One focuses on controlling electronic transport in the low dimension, while the other focuses on multiscale phonon engineering in the bulk. Recent work has benefited much from combining these two approaches, e.g., phonon engineering in low-dimensional materials. Here we propose to employ the low-dimensional electronic structure in bulk phononglass crystals as an alternative way to increase the thermoelectric efficiency. Through first-principles electronic structure calculations and classical molecular dynamics simulations, we show that the pi-pi-stacking bis(dithienothiophene) molecular crystal is a natural candidate for such an approach. This is determined by the nature of its chemical bonding. Without any optimization of the material parameters, we obtained a maximum room-temperature figure of merit, ZT, of 1.48 at optimal doping, thus validating our idea.

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