Phonon self-energy and origin of anomalous neutron scattering spectra in SnTe and PbTe thermoelectrics.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The anharmonic lattice dynamics of rock-salt thermoelectric compounds SnTe and PbTe are investigated with inelastic neutron scattering (INS) and first-principles calculations. The experiments show that, surprisingly, although SnTe is closer to the ferroelectric instability, phonon spectra in PbTe exhibit a more anharmonic character. This behavior is reproduced in first-principles calculations of the temperature-dependent phonon self-energy. Our simulations reveal how the nesting of phonon dispersions induces prominent features in the self-energy, which account for the measured INS spectra and their temperature dependence. We establish that the phase space for three-phonon scattering processes, combined with the proximity to the lattice instability, is the mechanism determining the complex spectrum of the transverse-optic ferroelectric mode.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Li, CW; Hellman, O; Ma, J; May, AF; Cao, HB; Chen, X; Christianson, AD; Ehlers, G; Singh, DJ; Sales, BC; Delaire, O

Published Date

  • May 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 112 / 17

Start / End Page

  • 175501 -

PubMed ID

  • 24836255

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1079-7114

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0031-9007

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1103/physrevlett.112.175501


  • eng