Mg3Sb2-based compounds by virtue of nontoxicity and low-cost have become a promising class of candidates for midtemperature thermoelectric power generation. Here, we successfully fabricated n-type Mg3Sb2-based materials using an inexpensive and efficient approach of one-step ball milling and spark plasma sintering, and demonstrate that a complementary and favorable effect of multiple elements coalloying/-doping leads to an excellent thermoelectric performance. The intrinsic p-type conducting behavior for Mg3Sb2 could be changed to n-type through Bi and Se coalloying on Sb sublattices with excess Mg, resulting from the suppression of Mg vacancies and the formation of Mg interstitial. Furthermore, Mn doping on Mg sublattices could soften the chemical bonds, leading to the increase of carrier mobility and concentration simultaneously. Additionally, multielement coalloying/-doping could significantly increase the lattice disorder, which undoubtedly strengthens the phonon scattering and readily results in a suppressed lattice thermal conductivity. As a result, a highest ZT value of 1.6 at 723 K and an average ZT value up to 1.1 were obtained in the temperature range of 323-723 K in the Mg3.18Mn0.02Sb1.5Bi0.49Se0.01 sample, which is one of the highest values among the Te free Mg3Sb2. This work could give guidance for improving the thermoelectric performance of Zintl phase materials or even others using the multielement codoping/-alloying strategy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas