Solubility Limits in Quaternary SnTe-Based Alloys

Andriy Zakutayev, Philip Parilla, Stephan Lany, Brenden Ortiz, Eric Toberer, Sebastian Siol, Aaron Holder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus Citations


The controlled decomposition of metastable alloys is an attractive route to form nanostructured thermoelectric materials with reduced thermal conductivity. The ternary SnTe-MnTe and SnTe-SnSe heterostructural alloys have been demonstrated as promising materials for thermoelectric applications. In this work, the quaternary Sn1-yMnyTe1-xSex phase space serves as a relevant model system to explore how a combination of computational and combinatorial-growth methods can be used to study equilibrium and non-equilibrium solubility limits. Results from first principle calculations indicate low equilibrium solubility for x,y < 0.05 that are in good agreement with results obtained from bulk equilibrium synthesis experiments and predict significantly higher spinodal limits. An experimental screening using sputtered combinatorial thin film sample libraries showed a remarkable increase in non-equilibrium solubility for x,y > 0.2. These theoretical and experimental results were used to guide the bulk synthesis of metastable alloys. The ability to reproduce the non-equilibrium solubility levels in bulk materials indicates that such theoretical calculations and combinatorial growth can inform bulk synthetic routes. Further, the large difference between equilibrium and non-equilibrium solubility limits in Sn1-yMnyTe1-xSex indicates these metastable alloys are attractive in terms of nano-precipitate formation for potential thermoelectric applications.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)24747-24753
Number of pages7
JournalRSC Advances
Issue number40
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-68341


  • alloys
  • decomposition
  • thermal conductivity
  • thermoelectric materials


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