Open Access Research Article Issue
Greatly enhanced mechanical properties of thermoelectric SnSe through microstructure engineering
Journal of Advanced Ceramics 2023, 12 (5): 1081-1089
Published: 11 April 2023

The outstanding thermoelectric material, SnSe, is also known for its inferior mechanical properties, which bring great inconvenience for its application in thermoelectric devices. In this work, SnSe bulks were prepared via a sequential procedure of high-pressure synthesis (HPS), ball milling, and spark plasma sintering (SPS). The produced polycrystalline samples with a unique microstructure of tightly-bound quasi-equiaxed grains exhibited excellent mechanical properties. The Vickers hardness (HV), compressive strength (σc), and bending strength (σb) reached 1.1 GPa, 300 MPa, and 90 MPa, respectively, all of which are far superior to those of ordinary polycrystalline SnSe. Furthermore, the microstructures did not deteriorate thermoelectric performance. This work demonstrated an effective procedure to prepare polycrystalline microstructure-engineered SnSe materials, which not only show advantages in device applications but also shed light on property enhancement for other layer-structured thermoelectric materials.

Research Article Online first
Experimental evidence of surface copper boride
Nano Research
Published: 27 February 2023

To validate the crystal structure and elucidate the formation mechanism of the unexpected surface copper boride, a systematic scanning tunneling microscope, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy, and aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy investigations were conducted to confirm the structure of copper-rich boride Cu8B14 after depositing boron on single-crystal Cu(111) surface under ultrahigh vacuum. First-principles calculations with defective surface models further indicate that boron atoms tend to react with Cu atoms near terrace edges or defects, which in turn shapes the intermediate structures of copper boride and leads to the formation of stable Cu-B monolayer via large-scale surface reconstruction eventually.

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