What is it about?

Tellurene, probably one of the most promising two-dimensional (2D) system in the thermoelectric materials, displays ultra-low thermal conductivity. However, a linear thickness-dependent thermal conductivity of unique tellurium nanoribbons in this study reveals that unprecedently low thermal conductivity can be achieved via well-defined nanostructures of low-dimensional tellurium instead of pursuing dimension-reduced 2D tellurene. For thinnest tellurium nanoribbon with thickness of 144 nm, the thermal conductivity is only ~1.88 ± 0.22 W·m−1·K−1 at room temperature. It’s a dramatic decrease (45%), compared with the well-annealed high-purity bulk tellurium. To be more specific, an expected thermal conductivity of tellurium nanoribbons is even lower than that of 2D tellurene, as a result of strong phonon-surface scattering. We have faith in low-dimensional tellurium in which the thermoelectric performance could realize further breakthrough.

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Why is it important?

To conclude, the monocrystal Te nanoribbons were synthesized by solution chemical method, and we measured the thermal conductivity of Te nanoribbons with various thickness. The thickness-dependent thermal conductivity with an almost linear relationship is discovered, caused by severe phonon-surface scattering. In thinnest sample with ~148 nm in thickness, thermal conductivity is as low as ~ 1.88 ± 0.22 W·m−1·K−1 at room temperature, which is nearly half of that of the well-annealed high-purity bulk Te. These results provide new experimental evidence for research of unconventional thermal conduction in low-dimensional materials and it is promising to achieve outstanding thermoelectric property in low-dimensional Te.

Perspectives

Shedding new lights of thickness-dependent Te nanoribbons on thermoelectric performance, thinner Te nanoribbons would render a lower thermal conductivity, thus lager ZT value could be expected.

shun wang
Wenzhou University

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This page is a summary of: Unprecedently low thermal conductivity of unique tellurium nanoribbons, Nano Research, April 2021, Tsinghua University Press, DOI: 10.1007/s12274-021-3414-7.
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