Thermoelectric performance of classical topological insulator nanowires

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Abstract

There is currently substantial effort being invested into creating efficient thermoelectric (TE) nanowires based on topological insulator (TI) chalcogenide-type materials. A key premise of these efforts is the assumption that the generally good TE properties that these materials exhibit in bulk form will translate into similarly good or even better TE performance of the same materials in nanowire form. Here, we calculate TE performance of TI nanowires based on Bi2Te3, Sb2Te3 and Bi2Se3 as a function of diameter and Fermi level. We show that the TE performance of TI nanowires does not derive from the properties of the bulk material in a straightforward way. For all investigated systems the competition between surface states and bulk channel causes a significant modification of the TE transport coefficients if the diameter is reduced into the sub 10 mu m range. Key aspects are that the surface and bulk states are optimized at different Fermi levels or have different polarity as well as the high surface to volume ratio of the nanowires. This limits the maximum TE performance of TI nanowires and thus their application in efficient TE devices.

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Nyckelord

Originalspråkengelska
Artikelnummer015015
TidskriftSemiconductor Science and Technology
Volym30
Utgåva nummer1
StatusPublished - 2015
PublikationskategoriForskning
Peer review utfördJa