Graduation Year

2005

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.

Degree Granting Department

Physics

Major Professor

George S. Nolas, Ph.D.

Keywords

Thermoelectric, Clathrate, Si-ge alloy, Transport measurements, Seebeck coefficient

Abstract

Thermoelectric phenomena couple thermal and electric currents, allowing for solid-state conversion of heat into electricity. For decades Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators have supplied power to NASA satellites and deep space probes. A more accessible application to consumers is the automotive industry̕s aspiration to incorporate thermoelectrics into active waste heat recovery systems. Higher power demands require these new thermoelectric devices to operate at higher temperatures and higher efficiencies, justifying new materials research. Recently, clathrates have gained interest for thermoelectric applications due to the unique properties they possess.These properties are directly related to their crystal structure. Therefore, clathrates are not only of interest from the standpoint of potential thermoelectric applications but are also of scientific interest as they presents an opportunity to investigate fundamental properties of group-IV elements in novel crystal structures.

Clathrates are a class of novel open-structured materials in which molecules or atoms of one species are completely enclosed within a framework comprised of another species. This work presents a systematic investigation of the electrical properties of type I clathrate alloys, specifically Si-Ge alloys, for the first time. A series of Ba8Ga16-ySixGe30-x+y clathrates with varying Si content were synthesized and their structural and transport properties were studied. Two additional series of type I clathrates were also synthesized and characterized and their properties compared to those of the Si-Ge alloys in order to develop an understanding of their structure-property relationships. The increasing Si content correlates to a dramatic increase in Seebeck coefficient even as the resistivity decreases, suggesting the complex interaction between the Ba and the Si substitution within the Ga16Ge30 framework significantly modifies the band structure.

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