Controlling the Thermoelectric Properties of Nb-Doped TiO2 Ceramics through Engineering Defect Structures

Xiaodong Liu, Demie Kepaptsoglou, Zhaohe Gao, Andrew Thomas, Krishnendu Maji, Emmanuel Guilmeau, Feridoon Azough, Quentin M. Ramasse, Robert Freer

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Donor-doped TiO2 ceramics are promising high-temperature oxide thermoelectrics. Highly dense (1 – x)TiO2–xNb2O5 (0.005 ≤ x ≤ 0.06) ceramics were prepared by a single-step, mixed-oxide route under reducing conditions. The microstructures contained polygonal-shaped grains with uniform grain size distributions. Subgrain structures were formed in samples with low Nb contents by the interlacing of rutile and higher-order Magnéli phases, reflecting the high density of shear planes and oxygen vacancies. Samples prepared with a higher Nb content showed no subgrain structures but high densities of planar defects and lower concentrations of oxygen vacancies. Through optimizing the concentration of point defects and line defects, the carrier concentration and electrical conductivity were enhanced, yielding a much improved power factor of 5.3 × 10–4 W m–1 K–2 at 823 K; lattice thermal conductivity was significantly reduced by enhanced phonon scattering. A low, temperature-stable thermal conductivity of 2.6 W m–1 K–1 was achieved, leading to a ZT value of 0.17 at 873 K for compositions with x = 0.06, the highest ZT value reported for single Nb-doped TiO2 ceramics without the use of spark plasma sintering (SPS). We demonstrate the control of the thermoelectric properties of Nb-doped TiO2 ceramics through the development of balanced defect structures, which could guide the development of future oxide thermoelectric materials.
Original languageEnglish
JournalACS applied materials & interfaces
Early online date29 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2021


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