2, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, United States
3, Shanghai University, Shanghai, shanghai, China
High performance thermoelectric materials requires ultralow lattice thermal conductivity typically through either shortening the phonon mean free path or reducing specific heat. Beyond these two approaches, we propose a new unique, simple, yet ultrafast solid state explosive reaction to fabricate nano-porous bulk thermoelectric materials with well controlled pore sizes and distributions to suppress thermal conductivity. By investigating a wide variety of functional materials, general criteria for solid state explosive reactions are built upon both thermodynamics and kinetics, and then successfully used to tailor material’s microstructures and porosity. Drastic decrease in lattice thermal conductivity down below the minimum value of the fully densified materials and enhancement in thermoelectric figure of merit are achieved in porous bulk materials. This work demonstrates that controlling materials’ porosity is a very effective strategy and is easy to be combined with other approaches for optimizing thermoelectric performance.