PatentDe  


Dokumentenidentifikation EP1012887 24.05.2007
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0001012887
Titel THERMOELEKTRISCHE ZUSAMMENSETZUNGEN
Anmelder Spire Holdings Ltd., St. Brelade, Jersey, GB
Erfinder PANAGHE, Stylianos, Over Peover Knutsford Cheshire WA16 8TW, GB;
HAKHOUMIAN, Arsen, Ashtarak-2 378410 Ashtarak, AM
Vertreter derzeit kein Vertreter bestellt
DE-Aktenzeichen 69837547
Vertragsstaaten AT, BE, CH, DE, DK, ES, FR, GB, IE, IT, LI, LU, NL, PT, SE
Sprache des Dokument EN
EP-Anmeldetag 06.08.1998
EP-Aktenzeichen 989376876
WO-Anmeldetag 06.08.1998
PCT-Aktenzeichen PCT/GB98/02372
WO-Veröffentlichungsnummer 1999008329
WO-Veröffentlichungsdatum 18.02.1999
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 28.06.2000
EP date of grant 11.04.2007
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 24.05.2007
IPC-Hauptklasse H01L 35/22(2006.01)A, F, I, 20051017, B, H, EP

Beschreibung[en]

This invention relates to compositions for use as thermoelectric cooling and power generation elements and to methods for their preparation.

The field of thermoelectric cooling is an important one, having obvious commercial applications, such as in refrigerators. Semiconductor devices, which utilise the Peltier effect, are known, the primary example being Bi Te based devices. Such devices, which are in widespread commercial use, employ suitably doped Bi Te alloys as both p and n type semiconductor elements. Sb and/or Se may be used as additives in order to modify the physical (primarily thermal) characteristics of the elements.

The efficiency of such thermoelectric cooling devices (i.e. the heat absorbed per unit of consumed power) is generally represented by a figure of merit or performance factor Z, which is given by: Z = S 2 &sgr; &kgr;

where S is the thermopower coefficient or Seebeck voltage (V/°C), &sgr; is the electrical conductivity (&OHgr;-1cm-1) and &kgr; is the thermal conductivity (Wcm-2 or °Ccm-1).

It is generally accepted that with the Bi Te based systems further improvements in Z are unlikely. Thus there is a need to provide new materials having improved values of Z. United States patent US 5 275 001 describes alternative materials for thermoelectric cooling which are based around various complex Sr Ti oxides. These materials are n type semiconductors.

The present invention addresses the abovementioned need by providing thermoelectric cooling elements having p type semiconductors exhibiting high values of figure of merit Z to be optimised, by optimising the combination of thermo power and electrical conductivity.

Gonçalves et al (A P Gonçalves, I C Santos, E B Lopes,. R T Henriques, M Almeida and M O Figueiredo, Phys. Rev. B 37 (1988) 7476) discloses compositions of the general formula Y1-xPrxBa2Cu3O7-&dgr;, where 0 ≤ x ≤ 1. Measurements of thermopower and resistivity are made, for the purpose of explaining the presence - or absence - of superconductivity in these materials. Furthermore, the precise oxygen deficiencies &dgr; of the reported compositions are not established. Further still, the distribution of Y and Pr with the composition is homogeneous.

Macklin and Moseley (W J Macklin and P T Moseley, Materials Science and Engineering B7 (1990) 111) described the thermoelectric data available at the time concerning a number of complex copper oxides, and commented generally upon the prospects of using such oxides in thermoelectric applications.

It is well known that it is possible to generate electrical power by "reversing" the above described process, i.e., by applying heat to materials of the type described above it is possible to generate electrical power.

According to a first aspect of the invention there is provided a p-type semiconductor composition described by the formula



        (RBa2Cu3O7-&dgr;)x + (PrBa2Cu3O7-&dgr;)1-x



wherein: the composition comprises granules of RBa2Cu3O7-&dgr; and granules of PrBa2Cu3O7-&dgr;;

R comprises Y, Ce, Nd, Pm, Sm, Eu, Gd, Tb, Dy, Ho, Er, Tm, Yb and/or Lu;

0<x<1;and

&dgr; is such that the RBa2Cu3O7-&dgr; component of the composition is in a metallic phase.

Compositions as defined above may be used as thermoelectric cooling elements. These mixed oxide compositions exhibit large values of Z, since the presence of the Pr oxide (which is a semiconductor irrespective of the oxygen deficiency) results in a high thermopower value, whilst the presence of the Y oxide in a metallic phase results in high values of electrical conductivity.

Preferably, x is less than 0.4, most preferably x is in the range 0.10 ≤ x ≤ 0.25.

The invention also provides thermoelectric cooling devices in which at least one cooling element comprises a composition as defined above, and thermoelectric power generation devices in which at least one power generation element comprises a composition as defined above.

According to an alternative aspect of the invention there is provided a thermoelectric cooling element or a thermoelectric power generation element comprising a p-type semiconductor composition described by the formula



        RBa2Cu3O7-&dgr;



  • wherein: R comprises Y, Ce, Nd, Pm, Sm, Eu, Gd, Tb, Dy, Ho, Er, Tm, Yb and/or Lu;
  • and &dgr; is such that the composition is in a transitional state between semiconducting and metallic phases.

Oxygen deficiencies corresponding to the phase transition from metallic to semiconductor behaviour (with a corresponding transition from orthorhombic to tetragonal lattice structures) - result in an optimal combination of electrical conductivity and thermopower.

The composition may be YBa2Cu3O7-&dgr;, Eu Ba2 Cu3O7-&dgr; or SmBa2 Cu3O7-&dgr;

The invention also provides a thermoelectric cooling device in which at least one cooling element comprises a composition as defined with regard to this alternative aspect of the invention, and a thermoelectric power generation device in which at least one power generation element comprises a composition as defined with regard to this aspect of the invention.

The quenching may comprise quenching of the composition on an aluminia plate, a copper plate or in liquid nitrogen.

A method for preparing compositions as previously defined, the method comprising the step of sintering granules of a predetermined range of grain sizes. The predetermined grain sizes may be in the range 0.1 to 100 µm, preferably 0.1 to 30 µm, most preferably 0.1 to 2 µm.

A method for preparing compositions as previously defined in which ultrasonic treatment is employed.

Typically, the at least one cooling element is in the form of a thin film. Typically, the at least one power generation element is in the form of a thin film.

The films are convenient to prepare and provide easily controllable and uniform ceramic structures. Furthermore, it is possible to provide films having highly anisotropic electrical properties and pre-defined grain size and structure, thereby permitting optimisation of the figure of merit. Still further, the heat generated by thermocooling is efficiently dissipated from thin films because of the inherently high surface area to volume ratios.

Preferably, the thickness of the film is less than 5 µm, most preferably less than 1 µm.

The semiconductor material may be texturised.

Embodiments of compositions and methods according to the invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:-

Figure 1
is a schematic diagram of apparatus for measuring thermopower;
Figure 2
shows log &sgr; against S/(µV)K-1 for a number of ceramics;
Figure 3
shows grain structure in a monocrystalline film of Y Ba2Cu3O7-&dgr;;
Figure 4
shows &rgr;/µ&OHgr;cm against oxygen content for a number of thin film samples of YBa2Cu3O7-&dgr;; and
Figure 5
shows S/(µV)K-1 against &rgr;&dgr;/&rgr;6.93 for a number of thin film samples.

A composition is described by the formula



        (RBa2Cu3O7-&dgr;)x + (Pr Ba2Cu3O7-&dgr;)1-x



  • wherein: R comprises Y, Ce, Nd, Pm, Sm, Eu, Gd, Tb, Dy, Ho, Er, Tm, Yb, and/or Lu;
  • 0<x≤1;and
  • &dgr; is such that the R Ba2Cu3O7-&dgr; component of the composition is in a metallic phase.

Such materials are particularly promising as cooling elements in thermoelectric devices, because it is possible to produce very large values of Z by independently controlling thermopower and electrical conductivity. Both oxide components of the composition - RBa2Cu3O7-&dgr; and PrBa2Cu3O7-&dgr; - adopt a distorted Perovskite lattice structure. The tetravalent Pr is present as an oxide which acts as a semiconductor for all values of &dgr;, and as such exhibits large thermopower but relatively poor electrical conductivity. However, the properties of the R oxide vary as a function of &dgr;. At room temperature, high oxygen deficiencies (approximately 0.75 < &dgr; ≤ 1 for the Y oxide) result in a pseudotetragonal lattice structure exhibiting properties characteristic of a semiconductor, i.e. large thermopower and relatively poor electrical conductivity. With increasing oxygen content (approximately 0.5 < &dgr; < 0.7 for the Y oxide) there is a transition from a tetragonal to an orthorhombic structure. At low oxygen deficiencies (approximately 0 ≤ &dgr; ≤ 0.5 for the Y oxide) the R oxide is metallic in behaviour, exhibiting large electrical conductivities but poor thermopowers.

The mixed oxide composition of the type described above is characterised (i) by a low oxygen deficiency, with the consequence that the R oxide component is present in a "metallic" phase. The Pr oxide component is present in a semiconductor phase even at low oxygen deficiency. Furthermore, (ii) the composition is not homogeneous, it comprising physically distinct granules of the Pr oxide and granules of the R oxide. As a result, the mixed oxide composition exhibits both a large thermopower (from the Pr oxide component) and high electrical conductivity (from the R oxide), producing a very large value of Z. In effect, a material having a large value of Z is produced by independently controlling thermopower S and electrical conductivity &sgr;.

The ratio of R to Pr is defined by the variable x. Preferably, x is less than 0.4, most preferably x is in the range 0.10 to 0.25, i.e. close to the percolation value. For YBa2Cu3O7-&dgr;, the percolation value is ca. 0.17.

The manufacture of thermoelectric cooling elements from suitable semiconducting material is well-known in the art - details can be found, for example in US 5 275 001. It will be apparent to the skilled reader that the compositions described herein may also be used as thermoelectric power generation elements, in which electrical power is produced from heat applied to the element.

It is noted that Gonçalves et al discloses the mixed oxide Y1-x Prx Ba2Cu3O7-&dgr; (0 ≤ x ≤ 1). However, the precise oxygen deficiencies of the prepared mixed oxide materials are not discussed or determined. Macklin and Moseley refer to Gonçlaves et al in their speculative discussion of possible uses of copper oxides in thermoelectric cooling. However, this article does little more than précis the reported measurements of resistivity and thermopower: no teaching is provided on optimal oxygen deficiencies, and, indeed, it is not suggested that the compositions of Gonçlaves et al would be suitable as thermoelectric elements.

Furthermore, and very importantly, the Y and Pr component are homogeneously distributed within the composition of Gonçlaves et al. In the present invention, the material is a composite comprising granules of R Ba2Cu3O7-&dgr; and granules of PrBa2Cu3O7-&dgr;. This permits control of factors such as grain boundary density which, as discussed in more detail below, have profound effects on S and &sgr;.

(R Ba2Cu3O7-&dgr;)x + (PrBa2Cu3O7-&dgr;)1-x may be prepared by solid state reaction of RBa2Cu3O7-&dgr; and PrBa2Cu3O7-&dgr;, the amounts of these compounds used being calculated such that the correct value of xresults. The individual R and Pr oxides are prepared by known means (see, for example, Gonçlaves et al and references therein, the references of Mackin and Moseley and the preparations devised herein). The oxides are ground, preferably to a grain size less than 1 to 2 µm, mixed and pressed into pellet form. The pellet is heated at ca. 920° C for ca. 10 hours, and then slowly cooled. It is important that "chemical" reaction does not occur - i.e, the distribution of R and Pr remains nonhomogeneous.

A single phase composition described by the formula



        R Ba2Cu3O7-&dgr;



  • wherein: R comprises Y, Ce, Nd, Pm, Sm, Eu, Gd, Tb, Dy, Ho, Er, Tm, Yb, and/or Lu;
  • and &dgr; is such that the composition is in a transitional state between semiconducting and metallic phases;
can be used as a thermoelectric cooling element or a thermoelectric power generation element.

As discussed above, the properties of these compositions are dependent on the oxygen deficiency. Using Y Ba2Cu3O7-&dgr;, as an example, when 0.7 < &dgr; ≤ 1, the composition behaves as a semiconductor, with the consequence that the electrical conductivity is too low for a significant value of Z to be achieved. When 0 ≤ &dgr; ≤ 0.5, these compositions exhibit metallic behaviour, and the electrical resistivity increases more rapidly than the Seebeck voltage, with the consequence that an insufficiently large value of Z is obtained. In the oxygen deficiency range 0.5 ≤ &dgr; ≤ 0.7 there is orthorhombic to tetragonal phase transition with an associated transition from metallic to semiconductor type behaviour. In this transition range, the thermopower and electrical conductivites are such that large values of Z may be obtained.

The distorted Perovskite metal oxide compositions RBa2Cu3O7-&dgr; are extremely well known as high temperature superconductors, with the consequence that the main thrust of the literature concerning these materials has focused on properties contributing to the understanding of the observed superconductivities. Macklin and Moseley reviewed the available thermoelectric data on such complex copper oxides and concluded that the figures of merit associated with these materials were too low for commercialisation as thermoelectric elements. Macklin and Moseley tentatively suggested that improvements in the figure of merit might be achieved by varying the oxygen stoichiometry and doping levels. However, Macklin and Moseley disclose no strategy or rationale regarding such the attainment of such improvements : indeed, the use of samples having a very high oxygen deficiency is implied.

Furthermore, as described in more detail below, the present invention provides methods and strategies which enable the figure of merit Z to be optimised. Such methods and strategies are a result of careful consideration of sample preparation conditions, and of the factors which affect electropower and electrical conductivities.

Example 1

Three groups of samples ofEuBa2Cu3O7-&dgr; and SmBa2Cu3O7-&dgr; were prepared by solid state reaction.

Group "A" was prepared from powders of Eu2/O3/Sm2O3, BaCO3 and CuO, these powders being mixed and ground, and then sintered for 20 hours at 900°C. The resultant composition was reground and pressed into pellets, which were then sintered at 920°C for 10 hours.

Group "B" was prepared from identical reagents to group "A", the preparation now comprising two cycles of mixing, grinding, re-grinding and sintering for 10 hours at 900°C. The resulting composition was pressed into pellet form, and then sintered at 920°C for 30 hours.

Group "C" samples were prepared by further treatment of group "B" samples, this treatment comprising re-grinding, screening grains between 20 and 100 µm, pressing them into pellets and sintering at 920°C for 20 hours.

A variety of cooling techniques were employed, namely natural furnace cooling, and quenching on a aluminia plate, on a copper plate and in liquid nitrogen.

Resistances were measured by a standard four-probe method. Thermopower was measured using the differential method against lead. The apparatus for performing the thermopower measurements is shown in Figure 1, and comprises the peltier device 10, thermocouples 12, 14, and temperature sensors 16, 18 connected to a differential thermometer 20 thereby providing the temperature differential between the warm and the cold side. The apparatus further comprises a direct current source 22 and current switching means 24, the latter permitting measurement of the thermopower at either polarity of the applied current.

Table 1 shows room temperature resistivities and absolute Seebeck voltage, obtained thereby, together with a quantity of Z * = S 2 &rgr; , where Z* is a "partial" figure of merit, S is the Seebeck voltage and &rgr; the resistivity. It should be noted that calculation of a complete figure of merit 2, requires a knowledge of the thermal conductivity, &kgr;; However, &kgr; does not greatly depend on the rare earth metal present or the oxygen deficiency, it being typically in the range 2 to 4 Wm-1K-1 Table 1 demonstrates that : i) huge improvements in Z* are possible if preparation conditions are correctly selected and ii) resistivity varies much more strongly with preparation conditions than thermopower. This is because conductivity (resistivity) is mainly determined by weak inter-granular media links, whilst thermopower is determined by granular conditions. Therefore, it is possible to almost independently control the conductivity and thermopower in these ceramic semiconductors.

Figure 2 shows the results of precision measurements of conductivity and Seebeck voltage against oxygen deficiency in a ceramic of high quality. The data are not explained by the simple thermoactivation mechanism (shown on the line 1g (e/k) in Figure 2) which describes usual semiconductor behaviour. This indicates that other mechanisms - probably a hopping mechanism - are operating. The deviation from thermoactivation type behaviour corresponds to the transition region between semiconducting to metallic behaviour.

Another factor influencing Z is the existence of anisotropic resistivities in samples from group "C", where &rgr;∥ = 1.45 x 10-4 &OHgr; cm, whilst &rgr;⊥ = 1.25 x 10-3 &OHgr; cm, &rgr;∥ and &rgr;⊥ representing the resistivities parallel and perpendicular to the pressure axis, respectively. Upon regrinding samples from group "B", the granules were found to be monocrystals with highly anisotropic resistivities (&rgr;ab/&rgr;c ~ 100-1000). After screening, the larger sized granules were uniaxially compressed into a pellet which exhibited anistrophy. Similar results were obtained for a Bi Te ceramic after sintering from small monocrystals.

Example 2

Thin films of three types of YBa2Cu3O7-&dgr; were prepared, namely single crystalline, texturised and polycrystalline (non-oriented).

The monocrystalline thin films were deposited onto a single crystal plane (100) of LaAlO substrates by a rf magnetron sputtering method, producing a film thickness of about 0.5 to 0.6 µm. The surface of these films was interrogated by optical scanning microscopy (SEM), which revealed that the films consist of large (ca. 200 µm) longitudinally regular grains (see Figure 3). Samples of YBa2Cu3O6.93 yielded a resistivity &rgr; of 300 µ &OHgr; cm, a superconducting transition temperature, Tco, of 93K, with a transition width &Dgr;Tco of 0.2K, and a critical current density Jc (77K) of 1.6 x 107Acm-2

For quenched samples, Figure 4 shows &rgr; vs oxygen content. These values are obtained indirectly from the relationships between Tco and &dgr;, and &rgr; and Tco.

Texturised polycrystalline films of YBa2Cu3O7-&dgr; were grown on Yttrium stabilised ZrO2 substrates by pulsed laser deposition from pellets of the same stoichiometry. Films of thickness 0.3 µm were produced using the (100) plane of the substrate for deposition thereon. Non-oriented films were produced by a similar process using non-oriented substrate surfaces. SEM morphological analysis revealed the presence of irregularly shaped grains of size 2 to 3 µm. In the texturised films of prevalance of c axis oriented grains was observed. The following typical parameters were observed : for texturised films, &rgr;(300K) - 0.9 m &OHgr; cm; Tco =91K; &Dgr; Tco = 2K; Jc = 106Acm-2 ; for non-oriented polycrystalline films, &rgr;(300K) = 2.4 m &OHgr; cm; Tco = 81K; &Dgr;Tco = 10K; Jc = 105Acm-2.

Resistivities were measured using a four probe method. Contacts were made by firing gold paste, resulting in a typical resistance of 100 m &OHgr; cm-2. Thermopower measurements were made using the apparatus depicted in Figure 1. The direction of the dc current flow through the Peltier device 10 was switched using switching means 24, thereby reversing the temperature gradient. The measurements made in each direction of the applied current, S+ and S-, yield an averaged thermopower S = (S+ - S.)/2. The measurements include some parasitic influence from the thermocouples 12, 14.

The measurements of thermopower verses &rgr;&dgr;/&rgr;6.93 are shown in Figure 5, where &rgr;&dgr;/&rgr;6.93 is the ratio of the measured resistivity to the resistivity obtained from the sample having &dgr; = 0.07. The legend shown in Figure 5 relates to the following examples : (1) corresponds to a monocrystalline film with measurements made along the grain length; (2) as (1) but with measurements made perpendicular to the grain length; (3) corresponds to the texturised film: and (4) corresponds to the polycrystalline film.

Figure 5 demonstrates that there is a significant difference in thermopower when the temperature gradient is parallel to and perpendicular to the monocrystalline film. Even in the parallel case there is a relatively small value of the thermopower. These phenomena can be explained by a 2D layer model, which indicates that grain boundaries determine the thermopower when the temperature gradient is perpendicular to the grain.

Smaller grain size, as occurs with the texturised film, results in an increase in thermopower. There is no thermopower anisotrophy with the texturised film surface because the grains are oriented in all directions.

Texturised film gives rise to increased thermopowers, which is due to the smaller grain size compared to the monocrystalline film. The measured resistivities are also higher, this being due to the increase of grain boundary density. However, it should be noted that resistivity is also increased by microcracking. The grain size threshold for microcracking in YBa2Cu3O7-&dgr; is estimated to be of the order of 1 µm.

Example 3

A bulk YBa2Cu3O7-&dgr; ceramic was prepared using ultrasonic treatment at 30kHz on granulated powder followed by uniaxial pressing into a pellet. The final value of &dgr; was ca. 0.6. X-ray reflection spectroscopy and SEM of sections taken perpendicular and parallel to the press axis indicate a prevalence of (ab) plane layered grains. This is desirable because thermopower is highly anistropic, with Sc >> Sab. The prepared sample exhibited a thermopower S of 130 µVK-1 and resistivity &rgr; of 4 x 10-3 &OHgr; cm, giving a partial figure of merit Z* (as previously defined) of 4225000 (µV)2 &OHgr;-1 cm-1 K-2.

The typical grain size in the sample was 5 to 30 µm. Further improvements are to be anticipated if smaller grains are employed, firstly due to the microcracking phenomena described above, and secondly because, in the bulk, three dimensional, case electroconductivity increases as grain size decreases. Smaller grains may be prepared by mechanical means, i.e. grinding, or by a cryogenic liquid phase preparation of the oxide. Group Physical Parameter Cooling Method (&rgr;/&OHgr; cm, S/µVK-1 Z*(µV)2&OHgr;-1cm-1K-2 Furnace Quenching on alumina plate Quenching on copper plate Quenching in liquid nitrogen "A" EuBa2Cu3O7-&dgr; &rgr; 5 x 10-3 0.26 0.42 0.6 S 14 110 143 150 Z* 39200 46500 48700 37500 SmBa2Cu3O7-&dgr; &rgr; 4.1 x 10-3 0.32 0.4 1.1 S 14 117 147 150 Z* 47800 42800 54000 20500 "B" EuBa2Cu3O7-&dgr; &rgr; 1.3 x 10-3 0.125 0.135 5 x 10-2 S 11 220 255 210 Z* 93100 387200 481700 882000 SmBa2Cu3O7-&dgr; &rgr; 1.7 x 10-3 0.1 0.1 0.115 S 11 220 220 227 Z* 71200 484000 484000 448100 "C" EuBa2Cu3O7-&dgr; &rgr; 1.45 x 10-4 7.5 x 10-3 1.75 x 10-2 1.8 x 10-2 S 10 110 115 130 Z* 689700 1613000 755700 938900 SmBa2Cu3O7-&dgr; &rgr; 0.8 x 10-3 1.8 x 10-2 1.8 x 10-2 3 x 10-2 S 10 130 170 200 Z* 125000 938900 1606000 1333000


Anspruch[de]
P-Typ-Halbleiterzusammensetzung der folgenden Formel:



        (RBa2Cu3O7-&dgr;)x + (PrBa2Cu3O7-&dgr;)1-x



wobei: die Zusammensetzung Körnchen aus RBa2Cu3O7-&dgr; und Körnchen aus PrBa2Cu3O7-&dgr; umfasst; R Y, Ce, Nd, Pm, Sm, Eu, Gd, Tb, Dy, Ho, Er, Tm, Yb und/oder Lu umfasst; O < x < 1 ist; und &dgr; derart ist, dass die RBa2Cu3O7-&dgr; Komponente der Zusammensetzung in einer Metallphase ist.
Zusammensetzung nach Anspruch 1, wobei x kleiner als 0,4 ist. Zusammensetzung nach Anspruch 2, wobei 0,10 ≤ x ≤ 0,25 ist. Zusammensetzung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 3, wobei die Körnchen eine vorbestimmte Korngröße im Bereich von 0,1 µm bis 100 µm haben. Zusammensetzung nach Anspruch 4, wobei die Korngröße im Bereich von 0,1 µm bis 3,0 µm liegt. Zusammensetzung nach Anspruch 5, wobei die Korngröße im Bereich von 0,1 µm bis 2,0 µm liegt. Thermoelektrische Kühlvorrichtung, bei der wenigstens ein Kühlelement eine Zusammensetzung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 6 umfasst. Thermoelektrische Energieerzeugungsvorrichtung, bei der wenigstens ein Energieerzeugungselement eine Zusammensetzung nach den Ansprüchen 1 bis 6 umfasst. Thermoelektrisches Kühlelement oder thermoelektrisches Energieerzeugungselement, das eine p-Typ-Halbleiterzusammensetzung der folgenden Formel umfasst:



        RBa2Cu3O7-&dgr;



wobei: R Y, Ce, Nd, Pm, Sm, Eu, Gd, Tb, Dy, Ho, Er, Tm, Yb und/oder Lu umfasst; und &dgr; derart ist, dass die Zusammensetzung in einem Übergangszustand zwischen der halbleitenden und der metallischen Phase ist.
Thermoelektrisches Element nach Anspruch 9, wobei die Zusammensetzung YBa2Cu3O7-&dgr; und 0,5 < &dgr; < 0,7 ist. Thermoelektrisches Element nach Anspruch 9, wobei die Zusammensetzung EuBa2Cu3O7-&dgr; ist. Thermoelektrisches Element nach Anspruch 9, wobei die Zusammensetzung SmBa2Cu3O7-&dgr; ist. Thermoelektrisches Element nach einem der Ansprüche 9 bis 12, wobei die Körnchen eine vorbestimmte Korngröße von 0,1 µm bis 100 µm haben. Thermoelektrisches Element nach Anspruch 13, wobei die Korngröße im Bereich von 0,1 µm bis 3,0 µm liegt. Thermoelektrisches Element nach Anspruch 14, wobei die Korngröße im Bereich von 0,1 µm bis 2,0 µm liegt. Thermoelektrische Kühlvorrichtung, die wenigstens ein thermoelektrisches Kühlelement nach einem der Ansprüche 9 bis 15 umfasst. Thermoelektrische Energieerzeugungsvorrichtung, die wenigstens ein thermoelektrisches Energieerzeugungselement nach einem der Ansprüche 9 bis 15 umfasst. Thermoelektrische Kühlvorrichtung nach Anspruch 7 oder Anspruch 16, wobei das wenigstens eine Kühlelement die Form einer dünnen Folie hat. Thermoelektrische Energieerzeugungsvorrichtung nach Anspruch 8 oder Anspruch 17, wobei das wenigstens eine Energieerzeugungselement die Form einer dünnen Folie hat. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 18 oder Anspruch 19, wobei die Dicke der Folie weniger als 5 µm, vorzugsweise weniger als 1 µm beträgt. Vorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 18 bis 20, wobei das Halbleitermaterial texturiert ist.
Anspruch[en]
A p-type semiconductor composition described by the formula



        (RBa2Cu3O7-&dgr;)x + (PrBa2Cu3O7-&dgr;)1-x



wherein: the composition comprises granules of RBa2Cu3O7-&dgr; and granules of PrBa2Cu3O7-&dgr;; R comprises Y, Ce, Nd, Pm, Sm, Eu, Gd, Tb, Dy, Ho, Er, Tm, Yb and/or Lu; 0 < x < 1; and &dgr; is such that the RBa2Cu3O7-&dgr; component of the composition is in a metallic phase.
A composition according to claim 1 in which x is less than 0.4 A composition according to claim 2 in which 0.10 ≤ x ≤ 0.25 A composition according to any of claims 1 to 3, wherein the granules are a predetermined grain size in the range of 0.1 µm to 100 µm. A composition according to claim 4 wherein the grain size is in the range of 0.1 µm to 3.0 µm. A composition according to claim 5 wherein the grain size is in the range of 0.1 µm to 2.0 µm A thermoelectric cooling device in which at least one cooling element comprises a composition according to any of claims 1 to 6. A thermoelectric power generation device in which at least one power generation element comprises a composition according to claims 1 to 6. A thermoelectric cooling element or a thermoelectric power generation element comprising a p-type semiconductor composition described by the formula



        RBa2Cu3O7-&dgr;



wherein: R comprises Y, Ce, Nd, Pm, Sm, Eu, Gd, Tb, Dy, Ho, Er, Tm, Yb and/or Lu; and &dgr; is such that the composition is in a transitional state between semiconducting and metallic phases.
A thermoelectric element according to claim 9 in which the composition is YBa2Cu3O7-&dgr; and 0.5 < &dgr; < 0.7 A thermoelectric element according to claim 9 in which the composition is EuBa2Cu3O7-&dgr; A thermoelectric element according to claim 9 in which the composition is SmBa2Cu3O7-&dgr; A thermoelectric element according to any of claims 9 to 12, wherein the granules are of a predetermined grain size in the range of 0.1 µm to 100 µm. A thermoelectric element according to claim 13 wherein the grain size is in the range of 0.1 µm to 3.0 µm. A thermoelectric element according to claim 14 wherein the grain size is in the range of 0.1 µm to 2.0 µm. A thermoelectric cooling device comprising at least one thermoelectric cooling element according to any of claims 9 to 15. A thermoelectric power generation device comprising at least one thermoelectric power generation element according to any of claims 9 to 15. A thermoelectric cooling device according to claim 7 or claim 16, wherein the at least one cooling element is in the form of a thin film. A thermoelectric power generation device according to claim 8 or claim 17 wherein the at least one power generation element is in the form of a thin film. A device according to claim 18 or claim 19 in which the thickness of the film is less than 5 µm, preferably less than 1 µm. A device according to any of claims 18 to 20, wherein the semiconductor material is texturised.
Anspruch[fr]
Composition semi-conductrice de type p qui répond à la formule



        (RBa2Cu3O7-&dgr;)x + (PrBa2Cu3O7-&dgr;)1-x



où : la composition comprend des granules de RBa2Cu3O7-&dgr; et des granules de PrBa2Cu3O7-&dgr; ; R représente Y, Ce, Nd, Pm, Sm, Eu, Gd, Tb, Dy, Ho, Er, Tm, Yb et/ou Lu ; 0 < x < 1 ; et &dgr; est tel que le composant RBa2Cu3O7-&dgr; de la composition est en phase métallique.
Composition selon la revendication 1, où x est inférieur à 0,4. Composition selon la revendication 2, où 0,10 < x < 0,25. Composition selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 3, où les granules ont une grosseur du grain prédéterminée comprise entre 0,1 µm et 100 µm. Composition selon la revendication 4, où la grosseur du grain est comprise entre 0,1 µm et 3,0 µm. Composition selon la revendication 5, où la grosseur du grain est comprise entre 0,1 µm et 2,0 µm. Dispositif thermoélectrique de refroidissement dans lequel au moins un élément de refroidissement comprend une composition selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 6. Dispositif thermoélectrique de production d'énergie dans lequel au moins un élément de production d'énergie comprend une composition selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 6. Élément thermoélectrique de refroidissement ou élément thermoélectrique de production d'énergie qui comprend une composition semi-conductrice de type p répondant à la formule



        RBa2Cu3O7-&dgr;



où : R représente Y, Ce, Nd, Pm, Sm, Eu, Gd, Tb, Dy, Ho, Er, Tm, Yb et/ou Lu ; et &dgr; est tel que la composition est dans un état de transition entre une phase semi-conductrice et métallique.
Élément thermoélectrique selon la revendication 9, où la composition est YBa2Cu3O7-&dgr; et où 0,5 < &dgr; < 0,7. Élément thermoélectrique selon la revendication 9, où la composition est EuBa2Cu3O7-&dgr;. Élément thermoélectrique selon la revendication 9, où la composition est SmBa2Cu3O7-&dgr;. Élément thermoélectrique selon l'une quelconque des revendications 9 à 12, où les granules ont une grosseur du grain prédéterminée comprise entre 0,1 µm et 100 µm. Élément thermoélectrique selon la revendication 13, où la grosseur du grain est comprise entre 0,1 µm et 3,0 µm. Élément thermoélectrique selon la revendication 14, où la grosseur du grain est comprise entre 0,1 µm et 2,0 µm. Dispositif thermoélectrique de refroidissement comprenant au moins un élément thermoélectrique de refroidissement selon l'une quelconque des revendications 9 à 15. Dispositif thermoélectrique de production d'énergie comprenant au moins un élément thermoélectrique de production d'énergie selon l'une quelconque des revendications 9 à 15. Dispositif thermoélectrique de refroidissement selon la revendication 7 ou la revendication 16, où au moins un élément de refroidissement est sous la forme d'un film mince. Dispositif thermoélectrique de production d'énergie selon la revendication 8 ou la revendication 17, où au moins un élément de production d'énergie est sous la forme d'un film mince. Dispositif selon la revendication 18 ou la revendication 19, où l'épaisseur du film est inférieure à 5 µm, et préférablement inférieure à 1 µm. Dispositif selon l'une quelconque des revendications 18 à 20, où le matériau semi-conducteur est texturé.






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