Rapid microwave synthesis of indium filled skutterudites: An energy efficient route to high performance thermoelectric materials

Krishnendu Biswas, Sean Muir, M.A. Subramanian


Department of Chemistry, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA

Received 24 August 2011; Accepted 30 August 2011. Available online 6 September 2011.

Abstract

Filled skutterudites are promising thermoelectric materials due to reduced thermal conductivity upon inserting a guest atom or ‘rattler’ into the CoSb3 structure. By using an indium rattler dimensionless Figure of Merit (ZT) values >1 at 650 K have been reported. The conventional synthesis of these compounds typically takes several days (∼3 days) to obtain the final well-sintered material for property measurements. We report here a microwave-assisted synthesis method that reduces the initial calcination time from 2 days to 2 min. This route significantly reduces the time needed to produce materials suitable for property and device testing.

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