Under applied high pressure, the electronic, optical, structural, and other properties of narrow-bandgap telluride semiconductors are subjected to dramatic changes. They can include, for instance, structural and electronic topological transitions. In this work, we investigated the electronic properties of single crystals of three families of tellurides, namely, HgTe, PbTe, and Bi2Te3 by measurements of the thermoelectric power (the Seebeck coefficient) and electrical resistance under high pressure up to 10 GPa. The applied pressure led to spectacular variations in the electronic transport of all three tellurides. We addressed these effects to electronic topological transitions that could be driven by significant narrowing of the bandgaps in the normal-pressure phases of these compounds. In particular, at about 1 GPa, we observed an n-p switching in the conductivity of HgTe, which was well reproducible under multiple pressure cycling. In contrast, in PbTe, we found that an electronic topological transition irreversibly turns the conductivity from p- to n-type. An electronic topological Lifshitz transition in p-type Bi2Te3 crystals with a low carrier concentration enhanced the n-type conductivity in a narrow pressure region about 2–3 GPa and resulted in a double p–n–p conductivity inversion. An irreversible p–n conductivity switching in p-type Bi2Te3 happened already on decompression from a high-pressure phase from about 8 GPa. The stress-controlled p–n inversions of the electrical conductivity in these industrially important telluride materials can potentially find emergent applications in micro- and nanoelectronics.
Colossal variations in the thermopower and n–p conductivity switching in topological tellurides under pressure
Natalia V. Morozova, Igor V. Korobeinikov, Kirill V. Kurochka, Sergey V. Ovsyannikov; Colossal variations in the thermopower and n–p conductivity switching in topological tellurides under pressure. J. Appl. Phys. 28 December 2020; 128 (24): 245902. https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0031818
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