NMR and Transport Measurements of Copper Chalcogenide and Clathrate Compounds
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Due to limited sources of fossil fuels worldwide and a large percentage wasted as heat energy, searching for efficient thermoelectric materials to convert heat to electricity has gained a great deal of attention. Most of the attempts are focused on materials with substantially lower lattice thermal conductivity and narrow band gaps. Among them, inorganic clathrates and copper-based chalcogenides possess intrinsic low thermal conductivity which makes them promising thermoelectrics. In this work, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), transport, and magnetic measurements were performed on clathrates and copper-based chalcogenides to investigate their vibrational and electronic charge carrier properties, as well as the unknown structures of Cu2Se and Cu2Te at low temperatures, and the effect of rattling of guest atoms in the clathrates. The NMR results in Ba8Ga16Ge30 indicate a pseudogap in the Ga electronic density of states, superposed upon a surprisingly large Ba contribution to the conduction band. Meanwhile, the phonon contributions to the Ga relaxation rates are large and increase more rapidly with temperature than typical semiconductors due to enhanced anharmonicity of the propagative phonon modes over a wide range. Moreover, the observed NMR shifts in the Ba8Cu5SixGe41-x clathrates change in a nonlinear way with increasing Si substitution: from x = 0 to about 20 the shifts are essentially constant, while approaching x = 41 they increase rapidly, demonstrating a significant change in hybridizations vs Si substitution. NMR studies of Cu2Se show an initial appearance of ionic hopping in a narrow temperature range above 100 K, coinciding with the recently observed low-temperature phase transition. At room temperature and above, this goes over to rapid Cu-ion hopping and a single motionally narrowed line both above and below the α-β structural transition. Furthermore, the NMR results on Cu2Te and Cu1.98Ag0.2Te demonstrate unusually large negative chemical shifts, as well as large Cu and Te s-state contributions in the valence band. The large diamagnetic chemical shifts coincide with behavior previously identified for materials with topologically nontrivial band inversion, and in addition, the large metallic shifts point to analogous features in the valence band density of states, suggesting that Cu2Te may have similar inverted features.
Sirusi Arvij, Ali (2016). NMR and Transport Measurements of Copper Chalcogenide and Clathrate Compounds. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from