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The binary skutterudite CoSb3 is a narrow bandgap semiconductor thermoelectric (TE) material with a relatively flat band structure and excellent electrical performance. However, thermal conductivity is very high because of the covalent bond between Co and Sb, resulting in a very low ZT value. Therefore, researchers have been trying to reduce its thermal conductivity by the different optimization methods. In addition, the synergistic optimization of the electrical and thermal transport parameters is also a key to improve the ZT value of CoSb3 material because the electrical and thermal transport parameters of TE materials are closely related to each other by the band structure and scattering mechanism. This review summarizes the main research progress in recent years to reduce the thermal conductivity of CoSb3-based materials at atomic-molecular scale and nano-mesoscopic scale. We also provide a simple summary of achievements made in recent studies on the non-equilibrium preparation technologies of CoSb3-based materials and synergistic optimization of the electrical and thermal transport parameters. In addition, the research progress of CoSb3-based TE devices in recent years is also briefly discussed.


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A review of CoSb3-based skutterudite thermoelectric materials

Show Author's information Zhi-Yuan LIUa,b( )Jiang-Long ZHUa,bXin TONGa,bShuo NIUa,bWen-Yu ZHAOc( )
School of Materials Science and Engineering, Anhui University of Technology, Maanshan 243002, China
Key Laboratory of Green Fabrication and Surface Technology of Advanced Metal Materials, Ministry of Education, Anhui University of Technology, Maanshan 243002, China
State Key Laboratory of Advanced Technology for Materials Synthesis and Processing, Wuhan University of Technology, Wuhan 430070, China

Abstract

The binary skutterudite CoSb3 is a narrow bandgap semiconductor thermoelectric (TE) material with a relatively flat band structure and excellent electrical performance. However, thermal conductivity is very high because of the covalent bond between Co and Sb, resulting in a very low ZT value. Therefore, researchers have been trying to reduce its thermal conductivity by the different optimization methods. In addition, the synergistic optimization of the electrical and thermal transport parameters is also a key to improve the ZT value of CoSb3 material because the electrical and thermal transport parameters of TE materials are closely related to each other by the band structure and scattering mechanism. This review summarizes the main research progress in recent years to reduce the thermal conductivity of CoSb3-based materials at atomic-molecular scale and nano-mesoscopic scale. We also provide a simple summary of achievements made in recent studies on the non-equilibrium preparation technologies of CoSb3-based materials and synergistic optimization of the electrical and thermal transport parameters. In addition, the research progress of CoSb3-based TE devices in recent years is also briefly discussed.

Keywords:

skutterudite, CoSb3-based materials, lattice thermal conductivity, synergistic optimization, thermoelectric properties, thermoelectric devices
Received: 14 March 2020 Revised: 02 June 2020 Accepted: 13 July 2020 Published: 15 August 2020 Issue date: December 2020
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Publication history

Received: 14 March 2020
Revised: 02 June 2020
Accepted: 13 July 2020
Published: 15 August 2020
Issue date: December 2020

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© The Author(s) 2020

Acknowledgements

The present work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51872006), High Level Doctoral Talent Program of Anhui University of Technology (DT17200008), and National Undergraduate Training Programs for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (No. S201910360186).

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