Fudong Zhang, Di Wu, Jiaqing He. The Roles of Grain Boundaries in Thermoelectric Transports. Materials Lab 2022, 1, 220012. doi: 10.54227/mlab.20220012
Citation: Fudong Zhang, Di Wu, Jiaqing He. The Roles of Grain Boundaries in Thermoelectric Transports. Materials Lab 2022, 1, 220012. doi: 10.54227/mlab.20220012

The Roles of Grain Boundaries in Thermoelectric Transports

Published as part of the Virtual Special Issue "Mercouri G. Kanatzidis at 65"

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  • Corresponding authors: wud@snnu.edu.cn; he.jq@sustech.edu.cn
  • Grain boundary scattering was long recognized and widely utilized to regulate the transports of charge carriers and phonons in thermoelectric materials; nevertheless, the understanding of grain boundaries in lots of literatures seems somewhat lopsided and way too simplified, without distinguishing the exact microstructural characters for each individual case. In this perspective, we first review the well-known functions of grain boundaries on the electrical and thermal transport properties based on some representative thermoelectric series. Next, we try to deepen the understanding of the roles of grain boundaries in the following two aspects: (1) whether the grain boundaries are large-angle or small-angle ones, and what the difference between them in affecting electrical/thermal performance is; (2) whether the grain boundaries are clean and sharp as lattice discontinuity defects, if not, how can the grain boundaries as an individual phase affect the thermoelectric transports. At last, we suggest that further investigations engaging more detailed microstructural information of grain boundaries are urgently necessary in order to better realize a positive trade-off between lattice thermal conductivity and electrical power factor for an overall enhanced thermoelectric performance.


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  • Fudong Zhang is currently a Ph.D. candidate in School of Materials Science and Engineering, Shaanxi Normal University. His primary research interest is focused on Bi2Te3–based thermoelectric compounds, specifically, the sample synthesis, characterization and mechanism of thermoelectric transport.
    Di Wu joined School of Materials Science and Engineering of Shaanxi Normal University in 2017, after spending four years in Southern University of Science and Technology as a research assistance professor. His researches currently focus on interrelation between physical properties and microstructures in functional materials, such as thermoelectric materials and dielectric/ferroelectric ceramics.
    Jiaqing He is a Chair professor at Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech). He received his joint Ph.D. degree in physics from both Juelich Research Center and Wuhan University in 2004. He was a post-doctor at Brookhaven National Laboratory (2004–2008), research associate (2008– 2010) and research assistant professor (2010–2012) at Northwestern University, and a professor at Xi'an Jiaotong University (2012–2013) and SUSTech (2013-2019). His research interests include transmission electron microscopy, thermoelectric materials, and structure and property relationship.
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