Role of force-constant difference in phonon scattering by nano- precipitates in PbTe

XL Yang and J Carrete and Z Wang, JOURNAL OF APPLIED PHYSICS, 118, 085701 (2015).

DOI: 10.1063/1.4928811

We study the effect of nanoscale precipitates on lattice thermal conduction in thermoelectric PbTe using a combination of ab-initio phonon calculations and molecular dynamics. We take into account the effects of mass difference and change in force constants, and find an enhanced influence of the latter with increased precipitate concentration. As a consequence, our inclusion of the change in force constants in the calculation affords a smaller predicted optimal nano- precipitate size that minimizes the thermal conductivity. These results suggest that the phonon scattering by nanoprecipitates in thermoelectric composites could be stronger than previously thought. (C) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC.

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