JOURNAL OF ELECTRONIC MATERIALS, vol.42, no.7, pp.1622-1627, 2013 (SCI-Expanded)
Substituting Fe on Co sites is an effective way to produce p-type skutterudite compounds as well as to reduce the thermal conductivity of skutterudites. In this work, we investigated thermoelectric properties of Fe-substituted and Ce + Yb double-filled Ce (x) Yb (y) Fe (z) Co4-z Sb-12 (x = y = 0.5, z = 2.0 to 3.25 nominal) skutterudite compounds by studying the Seebeck coefficient, electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, and Hall coefficient over a broad range of temperatures. All samples were prepared by using the traditional method of melting-annealing and spark plasma sintering. The signs of the Hall coefficient and Seebeck coefficient indicate that all samples are p-type conductors. Electrical conductivity increases with increasing Fe content. The temperature dependence of electrical conductivity indicates that a transition from the extrinsic to the intrinsic regime of conduction depends on the amount of Fe substituted for Co. The temperature dependence of mobility reflects the dominance of acoustic phonon scattering at temperatures above ambient. Except for Ce0.5Yb0.5Fe3.25Co0.75Sb12, the thermal conductivity increases with increasing Fe content, reaching the maximum value of 2.23 W/m K at room temperature for Ce0.5Yb0.5Fe3CoSb12. A high power factor (27 mu W/K-2 cm) combined with a rather low thermal conductivity for Ce0.5Yb0.5Fe3.25Co0.75Sb12 (nominal) lead to a dimensionless figure of merit ZT = 1.0 at 750 K for this compound, one of the highest ZT values achieved in p-type skutterudite compounds prepared by the traditional method of melting-annealing and spark plasma sintering.