Influence of Ni nanoparticle addition and spark plasma sintering on the TiNiSn-Ni system: Structure, microstructure, and thermoelectric properties

Christina S. Birkel, Jason E. Douglas, Bethany R. Lettiere, Gareth Seward, Yichi Zhang, Tresa M. Pollock, Ram Seshadri, Galen D. Stucky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


The electronic and thermal properties of thermoelectric materials are highly dependent on their microstructure and therefore on the preparation conditions, including the initial synthesis and, if applicable, densification of the obtained powders. Introduction of secondary phases on the nano- and/or microscale is widely used to improve the thermoelectric figure of merit by reduction of the thermal conductivity. In order to understand the effect of the preparation technique on structure and properties, we have studied the thermoelectric properties of the well-known half-Heusler TiNiSn with addition of a small amount of nickel nanoparticles. The different parameters are the initial synthesis (levitation melting and microwave heating), the amount of nickel nanoparticles added and the exact pressing profile using spark plasma sintering. The resulting materials have been characterized by synchrotron X-ray diffraction and microprobe measurements and their thermoelectric properties are investigated. We found the lowest (lattice) thermal conductivity in samples with full-Heusler TiNi2Sn and Ni3Sn4 as secondary phases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-22
Number of pages7
JournalSolid State Sciences
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013
Externally publishedYes



  • Half-Heusler TiNiSn
  • Microstructure
  • Ni nanoparticles
  • Spark plasma sintering
  • Thermoelectrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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