Chemical tuning of TiO2 nanoparticles and sintered compacts for enhanced thermoelectric properties

Chengyan Liu, Lei Miao, Jianhua Zhou, Rong Huang, Craig A.J. Fisher, Sakae Tanemura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


A novel, fast combustion method for synthesizing anatase TiO2 nanoparticles (average diameter ∼14 nm) codoped with N and Nb in a single step is reported. XRD, STEM-EDX, and XPS measurements confirm that Nb ions are incorporated into the tetragonal lattice on Ti sites, while N ions occupy O sites, and likely also interstitial sites. Sintering of pellets of codoped powders under reducing conditions produced polycrystalline samples with the rutile structure. Chemically tuned samples have power factors up to 9.87 × 10-4 W m-1 K-2, 7 times higher than that of pure TiO2 sintered under the same conditions. In addition, the thermal conductivity is considerably lower at 2.6-4.0 W m-1 K -1 as a result of greater grain-boundary and point-defect scattering. The figure of merit, ZT, is improved to 0.35 at 700 C, which is the highest value reported for a TiO2 material to date, and is comparable to the highest values of any n-type thermoelectric oxide. Our material also exhibits good thermal stability in a pure N2 atmosphere and is an excellent candidate for thermoelectric power generators. Consequently, the combustion technique represents a promising new strategy for preparing foreign-atom-doped metal oxides; the chemical tuning approach, a combination of foreign-atom-doped nanoparticle synthesis and optimized sintering process, can be applied to prepare superior thermoelectric materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11487-11497
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Jun 6
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Energy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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