Optimizing Thermoelectric Power Factor in p-Type Hydrogenated Nano-crystalline Silicon Thin Films by Varying Carrier Concentration

Edwin Acosta, V. Smirnov, Peter Szabo, Jim Buckman, Nick S. Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Most approaches to silicon-based thermoelectrics are focused on reducing the lattice thermal conductivity with minimal deterioration of the thermoelectric power factor. This study investigates the potential of p-type hydrogenated nano-crystalline silicon thin films (μc-Si:H), produced by plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition, for thermoelectric applications. We adopt this heterogeneous material structure, known to have a very low thermal conductivity (~ 1 W/m K), in order to obtain an optimized power factor through controlled variation of carrier concentration drawing on stepwise annealing. This approach achieves a best thermoelectric power factor of ~ 3 × 10 −4  W/mK 2 at a carrier concentration of ~ 4.5 × 10 19  cm 3 derived from a significant increase of electrical conductivity ~ × 8, alongside a less pronounced reduction of the Seebeck coefficient, while retaining a low thermal conductivity. These thin films have a good thermal and mechanical stability up to 500°C with appropriate adhesion at the film/substrate interface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2085-2094
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Electronic Materials
Volume48
Issue number4
Early online date13 Feb 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019

Keywords

  • Thermoelectric
  • annealing
  • carrier concentration
  • nano-crystalline silicon
  • power factor
  • thin films

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry

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