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BaBi2O6: A Promising n‑Type Thermoelectric Oxide with the PbSb2O6 Crystal Structure

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-09-07, 20:29 authored by Kieran B. Spooner, Alex M. Ganose, W. W. Winnie Leung, John Buckeridge, Benjamin A. D. Williamson, Robert G. Palgrave, David O. Scanlon
Thermoelectric materials offer the possibility of enhanced energy efficiency due to waste heat scavenging. Based on their high-temperature stability and ease of synthesis, efficient oxide-based thermoelectrics remain a tantalizing research goal; however, their current performance is significantly lower than the industry standards such as Bi2Te3 and PbTe. Among the oxide thermoelectrics studied thus far, the development of n-type thermoelectric oxides has fallen behind that of p-type oxides, primarily due to limitations on the overall dimensionless figure of merit, or ZT, by large lattice thermal conductivities. In this article, we propose a simple strategy based on chemical intuition to discover enhanced n-type oxide thermoelectrics. Using state-of-the-art calculations, we demonstrate that the PbSb2O6-structured BaBi2O6 represents a novel structural motif for thermoelectric materials, with a predicted ZT of 0.17–0.19. We then suggest two methods to enhance the ZT up to 0.22, on par with the current best earth-abundant n-type thermoelectric at around 600 K, SrTiO3, which has been much more heavily researched. Our analysis of the factors that govern the electronic and phononic scattering in this system provides a blueprint for optimizing ZT beyond the perfect crystal approximation.