The widespread use of thermoelectric technology is constrained by a relatively low conversion efficiency of the bulk alloys, which is evaluated in terms of a dimensionless figure of merit (zT).The zTof bulk alloys can be improved by reducing lattice thermal conductivity through grain boundary and point-defect scattering, which target low-and high-frequency phonons. Dense dislocation arrays formed at low-energy grain boundaries by liquid-phase compaction in Bi0.5Sb1.5Te3 (bismuth antimony telluride) effectively scatter midfrequency phonons, leading to a substantially lower lattice thermal conductivity. Full-spectrum phonon scatteringwithminimal charge-carrier scattering dramatically improved the zT to 1.86 ± 0.15 at 320 kelvin (K). Further, a thermoelectric cooler confirmed the performance with amaximum temperature difference of 81 K, which is much higher than current commercial Peltier cooling devices.
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