Structural evolution following spinodal decomposition of the pseudoternary compound (Pb 0.3Sn 0.1Ge 0.6)Te

Boaz Dado, Yaniv Gelbstein, Dimitri Mogilansky, Vladimir Ezersky, Moshe P. Dariel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Pseudoternary (Ge,Sn,Pb)Te compounds display favorable thermoelectric properties. Spinodal decomposition in the quasiternary (Ge,Sn,Pb)Te system is at the origin of a wide solubility gap at low Sn concentrations. The structural evolution of the spinodal decomposition was investigated as a function of aging time at 500°C, using x-ray diffraction, electron microscopy, and scanning electron microscopy. The evolution of the structure at 500°C consists initially of a short diffusion-controlled demixing stage into Pb- and Ge-rich coherent areas, with compositions corresponding to the inflection points of the free-energy curve. The Pb-rich areas adopt configurations associated with the directions of the soft elastic moduli of the cubic compound. Both the Pb- and Ge-rich areas are supersaturated and undergo in a second stage a nucleation and growth process and give rise to a biphased structure with equilibrium compositions corresponding to the boundaries of the miscibility gap. The resulting Pb-rich areas display a relatively stable microstructure suggesting the presence of long-range interactions between the Pb-rich precipitates in the Ge-rich matrix.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2165-2171
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Electronic Materials
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2010


  • (Pb,Sn,Ge)Te
  • Spinodal decomposition
  • microstructure
  • thermoelectricity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


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