Investigation of structural, thermodynamic and energy state characteristics of the ZrNi1-xRhxSn solid solution
The peculiarities of crystal and electronic structures, thermodynamic and energy state characteristics of the ZrNi1-xRhxSn semiconductive solid solution were investigated. It has been shown that in the ZrNiSn compound simultaneously exist two types of structural defects of the donor nature which generate two donor bands with different ionization energy in the band gap: a) the donor band ɛD1, formed as a result of a partial, up to ~ 1%, occupation of 4a position of Zr atoms by Ni atoms (mechanism of “a priori doping”) and deep donor band ɛD2, formed as a result of partial occupation of the tetrahedral voids by Ni atoms (Vac). The substitution in 4c position of the Ni atoms by Rh ones in ZrNi1-xRhxSn generates structural defects of acceptor nature and creates an impurity acceptor band ɛA in the band gap, which, in addition to the existence of ɛD1 та ɛD2 donor bands, makes semiconductor highly doped and strongly compensated. The obtained results allow to understand the mechanisms of electrical conductivity of thermoelectric materials based on n-ZrNiSn and the ways of conscious optimization of their characteristics for obtaining the maximum efficiency of conversion of thermal energy into electric.
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