Theoretical studies on the thermoelectric figure of merit of nanograined bulk silicon

Qing Hao; Gaohua Zhu; Giri Joshi; Xiaowei Wang; Minnich, Austin; Zhifeng Ren; Gang Chen
August 2010
Applied Physics Letters;8/9/2010, Vol. 97 Issue 6, p063109
Academic Journal
In this paper, we investigate the phonon transport in silicon nanocomposites using Monte Carlo simulations considering frequency-dependent phonon mean free paths, and combine the phonon modeling with electron modeling to predict the thermoelectric figure of merit (ZT) of silicon nanocomposites. The model shows that while grain interface scattering of phonons is negligible for large grain sizes around 200 nm, ZT can reach 1.0 at 1173 K if the grain size can be reduced to 10 nm. Our results show the potential of obtaining a high ZT in bulk silicon by the nanocomposite approach.


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