Nontoxic and Abundant Copper Zinc Tin Sulfide Nanocrystals for Potential High-Temperature Thermoelectric Energy Harvesting

Haoran Yang, Purdue University
Luis A. Jauregui, Birck Nanotechnology Center, Purdue University
Genqiang Zhang, Purdue University
Yong P. Chen, Birck Nanotechnology Center, Purdue University
Yue Wu, Birck Nanotechnology Center, Purdue University

Date of this Version



Nano Letters, 2012, 12 (2), pp 540–545 DOI: 10.1021/nl201718z


Improving energy/fuel efficiency by converting waste heat into electricity using thermoelectric materials is of great interest due to its simplicity and reliability. However, many thermoelectric materials are composed of either toxic or scarce elements. Here, we report the experimental realization of using nontoxic and abundant copper zinc tin sulfide (CZTS) nanocrystals for potential thermoelectric applications. The CZTS nanocrystals can be synthesized in large quantities from solution phase reaction and compressed into robust bulk pellets through spark plasma sintering and hot press while still maintaining nanoscale grain size inside. Electrical and thermal measurements have been performed from 300 to 700 K to understand the electron and phonon transports. Extra copper doping during the nanocrystal synthesis introduces a significant improvement in the performance.


Nanoscience and Nanotechnology