The Deposition of Bi Te and Sb Te Thermoelectric Thin Films by Thermal Coevaporation and Applications in Energy Harvesting

Authored by: L. M. Goncalves

Thermoelectrics and its Energy Harvesting

Print publication date:  April  2012
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9781439874707
eBook ISBN: 9781439874714
Adobe ISBN:


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Bismuth, antimony, and tellurium compounds (Bi/Sb/Te) are known as the best thermoelectric materials for room-temperature operation. Despite thermoelectric devices with these materials being used for many years in macroscale dimensions (millimetres sized devices), only few attempts were made to reduce these devices to the microscale (micrometer-sized devices). The deposition of thermoelectric films was reported before using techniques like electrochemical deposition (ECD), metal–organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD), pulsed laser deposition, sputtering, and thermal evaporation [18]. Each technique has its advantages and disadvantages, and a summary can be found in Table 19.1. In the table, CVD and ECD present opposite characteristics: while CVD films present high figure of merit (ZT), but a low deposition rate and expensive and complicated equipment is required (specific gases are needed for the deposition), ECD is a simple process, allowing high deposition rates (tens of micrometers can be achieved) but resultant films present low ZT. However, ECD allows the creation of structures during the deposition process, using the LIGA process (from German “lithographie, galvanoformung, abformung,” meaning lithography, electroplating, and molding). In this chapter, the deposition of Bi2Te3 and Sb2Te3 thin films by thermal coevaporation is described.

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