High efficiency thermoelectric (TE) materials still require high thermopower for energy harvesting applications. A simple elemental metallic semiconductor, tellurium (Te), has been considered critical to realize highly efficient TE conversion due to having a large effective band valley degeneracy. This paper demonstrates a novel approach to directly probe the out-of-plane Seebeck coefficient for one-dimensional Te quantum wires (QWs) formed locally in the aluminum oxide layer by well-controlled electrical breakdown at 300 K. Surprisingly, the out-of-plane Seebeck coefficient for these Te QWs ≈ 0.8 mV/K at 300 K. This thermopower enhancement for Te QWs is due to Te intrinsic nested band structure and enhanced energy filtering at Te/AO interfaces. Theoretical calculations support the enhanced high Seebeck coefficient for elemental Te QWs in the oxide layer. The local-probed observation and detecting methodology used here offers a novel route to designing enhanced thermoelectric materials and devices in the future.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry