Thermoelectric Properties of Nanocrystalline Silicon Films Prepared by Hot-Wire and Plasma-Enhanced Chemical-Vapor Depositions

William Nemeth, Battogtokh Jugdersuren, Brian Kearney, Xiao Liu, Rhonda Stroud, James Culbertson, Paul Desario

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus Citations


We report thermoelectric measurements over a temperature range of 80 K to 300 K of heavily boron-doped nanocrystalline silicon films prepared by hot-wire and plasma-enhanced chemical-vapor depositions. The nanocrystalline silicon films were doped by either gaseous deposition precursors or post-deposition ion implantation, resulting in boron concentrations ranging from 1–2×1020 cm−3 to 3 × 1021 cm−3. Reasonable values of the Seebeck coefficient and electrical conductivity were obtained at 300 K, comparable to many other research work. We also report thermal conductivity measurements on these films before doping, which we use to estimate their prospective thermoelectric efficiency. These measurements show values as low as 0.76 W/mK at 300 K which depend highly upon the grain sizes of the nc-Si films. We find that post-deposition doping by ion-implantation is more effective at enhancing the power factor than gaseous doping, and the power factor is only weakly dependent upon doping concentration for the films doped by ion implantation. We conclude that improvements of the thermoelectric efficiency of nc-Si films may depend more on a reduction of their thermal conductivity than doping optimization. The small grain sizes and the low thermal conductivity of the undoped nc-Si films accomplished in this work are therefore encouraging developments.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)5218-5225
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Electronic Materials
Issue number8
StatePublished - 15 Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, This is a U.S. government work and its text is not subject to copyright protection in the United States; however, its text may be subject to foreign copyright protection.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-74562


  • chemical-vapor deposition
  • ion-implantation
  • nanocrystalline silicon
  • power factor
  • thermal conductivity
  • Thermoelectric


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