Reduced Thermal Conductivity Due to Scattering Centers in p-Type SiGe Alloys 929420
A theoretical model has been developed (Klemens 1987) that predicts that the addition of ultra-fine, inert, phonon-scattering centers to SiGe thermoelectric material will reduce its thermal conductivity and improve its figure-of-merit. To investigate this prediction, ultra-fine particulates (20Å to 200Å) of boron nitride have been added to boron doped, p-type, 80/20 SiGe. All previous SiGe samples produced from ultra-fine SiGe powder without additions had lower thermal conductivities than standard SiGe, but high temperature (1525K) heat treatment increased their thermal conductivity back to the value for standard SiGe. However, the SiGe samples with inert boron nitride or silicon nitride, phonon-scattering centers retained the lower thermal conductivity after multiple heat treatments at 1525K. In samples with boron nitride phonon-scattering centers a reduction of approximately 25% in thermal conductivity has been achieved while maintaining electrical properties, thus obtaining a figure-of-merit of 0.70 × 10-3K-1. Transmission Electron Microscopy has been used to confirm the presence of occluded particulates and X-ray diffraction has been used to determine the composition to be BN.