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Thermoelectric coefficients of n -doped silicon from first principles via the solution of the Boltzmann transport equation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article number085204
Number of pages11
JournalPhysical Review B (Condensed Matter and Materials Physics)
Issue number8
Accepted/In press2 Aug 2016
Published25 Aug 2016


King's Authors


We present a first-principles computational approach to calculate thermoelectric transport coefficients via the exact solution of the linearized Boltzmann transport equation, also including the effect of nonequilibrium phonon populations induced by a temperature gradient. We use density functional theory and density functional perturbation theory for an accurate description of the electronic and vibrational properties of a system, including electron-phonon interactions; carriers' scattering rates are computed using standard perturbation theory. We exploit Wannier interpolation (both for electronic bands and electron-phonon matrix elements) for an efficient sampling of the Brillouin zone, and the solution of the Boltzmann equation is achieved via a fast and stable conjugate gradient scheme. We discuss the application of this approach to n-doped silicon. In particular, we discuss a number of thermoelectric properties such as the thermal and electrical conductivities of electrons, the Lorenz number and the Seebeck coefficient, including the phonon drag effect, in a range of temperatures and carrier concentrations. This approach gives results in good agreement with experimental data and provides a detailed characterization of the nature and the relative importance of the individual scattering mechanisms. Moreover, the access to the exact solution of the Boltzmann equation for a realistic system provides a direct way to assess the accuracy of different flavors of relaxation time approximation, as well as of models that are popular in the thermoelectric community to estimate transport coefficients.

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