Thermoelectric characteristics of electrochemically deposited Bi2Te3 and Sb2Te3 thin films of relevance to multilayer preparation.
Journal article, 2012
Thermoelectric thin films of Bi2Te3 and Sb2Te3 were synthesized on a gold-coated silicon substrate from an aqueous acid bath at room temperature by electrochemical deposition. Both constant potential deposition and pulsed potential deposition were employed and the influence of the deposition conditions on the elemental composition, crystal structure and surface morphology of the films was investigated. After transfer of the films to an insulating substrate, the thermoelectric and transport properties of the as-deposited and annealed films were measured. The results show that the as-deposited Bi2Te3 thin films are polycrystalline with n-type semiconducting properties, while the as-deposited Sb2Te3 films displayed an amorphous structure. Annealing the as-deposited Sb2Te3 films caused them to crystallize as Sb2Te3 and in addition, resulted in a separate Te phase. The annealed films showed p-type semiconducting properties. For both systems, the thermoelectric properties of the films are consistently lower than their bulk counterparts. The reasons for the inferior thermoelectric properties are different for the two material types. Based on the studies of electrodeposition of the two compounds, an electrochemical method for preparation of multilayers composed of alternating Bi2Te3 and Sb2Te3 layers was explored.