Si and Na addition to TI-doped PbTe Thermoelectric Materials

Technology #15706

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FIG. 4A presents a graph showing temperature dependence of electrical conductivities of embodiment thermoelectric materials of the present disclosure as compared to previously-reported data (dashed lineFIG. 6 presents a graph showing temperature dependence of the dimensionless figure-of-merit (ZT) in embodiment thermoelectric materials of the present disclosure.
Professor Gang Chen
Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT
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Zhifeng Ren
Boston College
Qinyong Zhang
Boston College
Qian Zhang
Boston College
Managed By
Christopher Noble
MIT Technology Licensing Officer - Clean and Renewable Energy
Patent Protection

Thermoelectric Materials and Methods for Synthesis Thereof

US Patent 9,099,601


Thermoelectric materials have applications ranging from solid state cooling to conversion of heat to electricity.

Problem Addressed

Thallium doped lead telluride thermoelectric materials fabricated by ball milling and hot pressing have desirable thermoelectric properties, but they have weak mechanical strength. 


Lead tulleride (PbTe) is one of the most studied intermediate temperature thermoelectric materials, and retains the highest dimensionless thermoelectric figure-of-merit (ZT) for any bulk material. PbTe is synthesized from ball milling and hot pressing, which makes it a simple and scalable manufacturing method. Incorporating Na and Si into the material by adding them into the ball milling plus hot pressing, improves the mechanical strength and allows the material to maintain a high ZT of ~1.7 at 773K. 


  • Improves thermoelectric properties
  • Improves mechanical strength