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Title: The effect of order-disorder phase transitions and band gap evolution on the thermoelectric properties of AgCuS nanocrystals
Authors: Guin, Satya N.
Sanyal, Dirtha
Biswas, Kanishka
Keywords: Chemistry
Scalable Synthesis
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry
Citation: Guin, S. N.; Sanyal, D.; Biswas, K., The effect of order-disorder phase transitions and band gap evolution on the thermoelectric properties of AgCuS nanocrystals. Chemical Science 2016, 7 (1), 534-543
Chemical Science
Abstract: Copper and silver based chalcogenides, chalco-halides, and halides form a unique class of semiconductors, as they display mixed ionic and electronic conduction in their superionic phase. These compounds are composed of softly coupled cationic and anionic substructures, and undergo a transition to a superionic phase displaying changes in the substructure of their mobile ions with varying temperature. Here, we demonstrate a facile, ambient and capping agent free solution based synthesis of AgCuS nanocrystals and their temperature dependent (300-550 K) thermoelectric properties. AgCuS is known to show fascinating p-n-p type conduction switching in its bulk polycrystalline form. Temperature dependent synchrotron powder X-ray diffraction, heat capacity and Raman spectroscopy measurements indicate the observation of two superionic phase transitions, from a room temperature ordered orthorhombic (beta) to a partially disordered hexagonal (alpha) phase at similar to 365 K and from the hexagonal (alpha) to a fully disordered cubic (delta) phase at similar to 439 K, in nanocrystalline AgCuS. The size reduction to the nanoscale resulted in a large variation in the thermoelectric properties compared to its bulk counterpart. Temperature dependent Seebeck coefficient measurements indicate that the nanocrystalline AgCuS does not display the p-n-p type conduction switching property like its bulk form, but remains p-type throughout the measured temperature range due to the presence of excess localized Ag vacancies. Nanocrystalline AgCuS exhibits a wider electronic band gap (similar to 1.2 eV) compared to that of the bulk AgCuS (similar to 0.9 eV), which is not sufficient to close the band gap to form a semimetallic intermediate state during the orthorhombic to hexagonal superionic phase transition, thus AgCuS nanocrystals do not show conduction type switching properties like their bulk counterpart. The present study demonstrates that ambient solution phase synthesis and size reduction to the nanoscale can tailor the order-disorder phase transition, the band gap and the electronic conduction properties in superionic compounds, which will not only enrich solid-state inorganic chemistry but also open a new avenue to design multifunctional materials.
Description: Open Access
ISSN: 2041-6520
Appears in Collections:Research Papers (Kaniska Biswas)

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