Growth and thermoelectric properties of CaMnO3-based thin films

Abstract: The field of them1oelectrics started in early 19th century. Since the discovery of the Seebeck effect and the Peltier effect, thermoelectric modules have found their way into, mostly, niche applications such as radioisotope thermoelectric generators on space missions. Thermoelectric modules can also be used for cooling, utilizing the Peltier effect.Thermoelectrics are promising materials due to the operation nature of the modules. That is, they have no moving parts, no exhaust, long lifetime without maintenance, features that make them attractive for many applications. Despite these promising properties, thermoelectric modules are mostly used in niche applications. The main reason for this is conventional modules with the highest efficiency are commonly made of expensive and/or rare elements which prevents mass production.To tackle this problem, new materials are investigated to find a module that can be made widely available. Oxides are one possibility, where an added benefit is that they are chemically stable even at elevated temperature. The perovskite CaMnO3 is one of the more promising oxides, with elements that are abundant on earth and cheap. The material does suffer from low electrical conductivity which results in a low electrical conductivity and efficiency. A substantial effort has been put in to increase the efficiency of CaMnO3, hut it still needs improvement.In my thesis, I have investigated the CaMnO3 system. CaMnO3 was synthesized using co-reactive RF-magnetron sputtering and post annealing. The synthesis method is already known hut has not been used for deposition of perovskites. I have also demonstrated that this synthesis method can be used to dope CaMnO3 with niobium at appropriate levels for enhancing the efficiency.

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