Thermoelectric quaternary sulfide Cu2+xZn1−xSnS4 (x = 0–0.3): Effects of Cu substitution for Zn

Bui Duc Long, Le Hong Thang, Nguyen Hong Hai, Koichiro Suekuni, Katsuaki Hashikuni, Tran Quang Minh Nhat, Wojciech Klich, Michitaka Ohtaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Kesterite Cu2ZnSnS4 has attracted increasing attention owing to its high potential as a thermoelectric material and a unique order–disorder-type structural transformation at high temperatures. For both characteristics, their composition dependences should be investigated to gain insight into the way for improving the thermoelectric performance. Therefore, we synthesized the wide composition range of Cu2+xZn1−xSnS4 (x = 0, 0.1, 0.2, and 0.3) of kesterite samples and assessed their thermoelectric properties up to 673 K. The polycrystalline samples were prepared by the direct reaction of the constituent elements followed by spark plasma sintering. The sintered samples were dense and single phased. The substitution of Cu for Zn increased the hole carrier concentration, and thereby the electrical conductivity increased. For all samples, a simultaneous increase in the electrical conductivity and the Seebeck coefficient was observed at 450–550 K, which can be attributed to the structural transformation. The resultant increase in the thermoelectric power factor became more pronounced at x ≥ 0.1. These effects of the substitution increased the power factor at 673 K to 643 µW K−2 m−1 at x = 0.3. The thermal conductivity was changed only slightly by the substitution because the reduction in the lattice component was counterbalanced by an increase in the electronic component. As a result, thanks to the increased power factor, the dimensionless thermoelectric figure of merit ZT was enhanced to 0.36 at 673 K for the x = 0.3 sample.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115353
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering B: Solid-State Materials for Advanced Technology
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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