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Enhancement of thermoelectric properties of CuFeS2 through formation of spinel-type microprecipitates

Tippireddy, S., Azough, F., Bhui, A., Mikulska, I., Freer, R., Biswas, K., Vaqueiro, P. ORCID: and Powell, A. V. (2023) Enhancement of thermoelectric properties of CuFeS2 through formation of spinel-type microprecipitates. Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 11 (42). pp. 22960-22970. ISSN 0959-9428

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1039/D3TA05011D


CuFeS2 (chalcopyrite) is a promising n-type thermoelectric candidate for low-grade waste heat recovery. In this work, chromium-containing CuFeS2 materials of general formula Cu1 xCrxFeS2 (0.0 ≤ x ≤ 0.1) were prepared via solid-state synthesis. Efforts to substitute chromium in CuFeS2 leads to the preferential formation of a composite, in which lamellar precipitates of a Cr-rich, spinel-type [Cu,Fe,Cr]3S4 phase, are embedded in the unsubstituted CuFeS2 matrix. X-ray absorption near-edge spectroscopy (XANES) reveals that the electronic structure of copper, iron and sulfur in the principal CuFeS2 phase remains unaltered by chromium incorporation. However, the formation of [Cu,Fe,Cr]3S4 precipitates alters the Cu:Fe ratio of the CuFeS2 phase, producing a change in the net carrier concentration through reduction of a portion of Fe3+ ions to Fe2+. The chromium content of the spinel precipitates determines the extent of the change in the Cu:Fe ratio of the main CuFeS2 phase, and hence, indirectly affects the electrical properties. The micro/nanometre-sized [Cu,Fe,Cr]3S4 precipitates and nanoscale dislocations enable a broad spectrum of heat-carrying acoustic phonons to be scattered, resulting in a significantly reduced lattice thermal conductivity. Combined with an enhanced power factor, a maximum thermoelectric figure-of-merit, zT of 0.31 at 673 K is achieved for the x = 0.08 sample; a three-fold increase over that of the pristine phase.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Chemical Analysis Facility (CAF)
Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Chemistry
ID Code:113651
Publisher:Royal Society of Chemistry


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