Electron-phonon coupling and thermal transport in the thermoelectric compound Mo3Sb(7−x)Te(x)
Phonon properties of Mo3Sb(7−x)Te(x) (x=0,1.5,1.7), a potential high-temperature thermoelectric material, have been studied with inelastic neutron and x-ray scattering, and with first-principles simulations. The substitution of Te for Sb leads to pronounced changes in the electronic structure, local bonding, phonon density of states, dispersions, and phonon lifetimes. Alloying with tellurium shifts the Fermi level upward, near the top of the valence band, resulting in a strong suppression of electron-phonon screening and a large overall stiffening of interatomic force constants. The suppression in electron-phonon coupling concomitantly increases group velocities and suppresses phonon scattering rates, surpassing the effects of alloy-disorder scattering and resulting in a surprising increased lattice thermal conductivity in the alloy. We also identify that the local bonding environment changes nonuniformly around different atoms, leading to variable perturbation strengths for different optical phonon branches. Changes in phonon group velocities and phonon scattering rates are quantified, highlighting the large effect of electron-phonon coupling in this compound.
Bansal, D; Li, CW; Said, AH; Abernathy, DL; Yan, J; Delaire, O
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