Applied Surface Science, Vol.336, 283-289, 2015
Nano-crystalline Ag-PbTe thermoelectric thin films by a multi-target PLD system
It has been evaluated the ability of ArF pulsed laser ablation to grow nano-crystalline thin films of high temperature PbTe thermoelectric material, and to obtain a uniform and controlled Ag blending, through the entire thickness of the film, using a multi-target system in vacuum. The substrate used was a mirror polished technical alumina slab. The increasing atomic percentage of Ag effect on physical-chemical and electronic properties was evaluated in the range 300-575 K. The stoichiometry and the distribution of the Ag component, over the whole thickness of the samples deposited, have been studied by XPS (X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy) and corresponding depth profiles. The crystallographic structure of the film was analyzed by grazing incidence X-ray diffraction (GI-XRD) system. Scherrer analysis for crystallite size shows the presence of nano-structures, of the order of 30-35 nm. Electrical resistivity of the samples, studied by the four point probe method, as a function of increasing Ag content, shows a typical semi-conductor behavior. From conductivity values, carrier concentration and Seebeck parameter determination, the power factor of deposited films was calculated. Both XPS, Hall mobility and Seebeck analysis seem to indicate a limit value to the Ag solubility of the order of 5%, for thin films of 200 nm thickness, deposited at 350 degrees C. These data resulted to be comparable to theoretical evaluation for thin films but order of magnitude lower than the corresponding bulk materials. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.