1 Department of Physics, Technical University of Denmark2 Clemson University3 Wuhan University of Technology, China4 Risø National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy, Technical University of Denmark5 National Institute of Standards and Technology6 Clemson University7 National Institute of Standards and Technology
We report small-angle neutron scattering studies on the microstructure network in bulk (Bi,Sb)(2)Te-3 synthesized by the melt-spinning (MS) and the spark-plasma-sintering (SPS) process. We find that rough interfaces of multiscale microstructures generated by the MS are responsible for the large reduction of both lattice thermal conductivity and electrical conductivity. Our study also finds that subsequent SPS forms a microstructure network of similar to 10 nm thick lamellae and smooth interfaces between them. This nanoscale microstructure network with smooth interfaces increases electrical conductivity while keeping a low thermal conductivity, making it an ideal microstructure for high thermoelectric efficiency.