Doping by design: Finding new n-type dopable ABX4Zintl phases for thermoelectrics

Jiaxing Qu, Vladan Stevanović, Elif Ertekin, Prashun Gorai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Doping remains a bottleneck in discovering novel functional materials for applications such as thermoelectrics (TE) and photovoltaics. The current computational approach to materials discovery is to identify candidates by predicting the functional properties of a pool of known materials, and hope that the candidates can be appropriately doped. What if we could "design"new materials that have the desired functionalities and doping properties? In this work, we use an approach, wherein we perform chemical replacements in a prototype structure, to realize doping by design. We hypothesize that the doping characteristics and functional performance of the prototype structure are translated to the new compounds created by chemical replacements. Discovery of new n-type Zintl phases is desirable for TE; however, n-type Zintl phases are a rarity. We demonstrate our doping design strategy by discovering 7 new, previously-unreported ABX4 Zintl phases that adopt the prototypical KGaSb4 structure. Among the new phases, we computationally confirm that NaAlSb4, NaGaSb4 and CsInSb4 are n-type dopable and potentially exhibit high n-type TE performance, even exceeding that of KGaSb4. Our structure prototyping approach offers a promising route to discovering new materials with designed doping and functional properties. This journal is

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25306-25315
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry A
Issue number47
StatePublished - Dec 21 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Materials Science(all)


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