Electrophoretic deposition (EPD) of p-type Bi2Te3 material has been accomplished, and a high quality crack-free thick film has been achieved for thermoelectric (TE) applications. TE generators (TEG) can convert waste heat into electricity, which can potentially solve global warming problems. However, TEG is expensive due to the high cost of materials, as well as the complex and expensive manufacturing process. EPD is a simple and cost-effective method which has been used recently for advanced applications. In EPD, when a DC electric field is applied to the charged powder particles suspended in a suspension, they are attracted and deposited on the substrate with the opposite charge. In this study, it has been shown that it is possible to prepare a TE film using the EPD method and potentially achieve high TE properties at low cost. The relationship between the deposition weight and the EPD-related process parameters, such as applied voltage and time, has been investigated and a linear dependence has been observed, which is in good agreement with the theoretical principles of EPD. A stable EPD suspension of p-type Bi2Te3 was prepared in a mixture of acetone-ethanol with triethanolamine as a stabilizer. To achieve a high quality homogenous film on a copper substrate, the optimum voltage and time of the EPD process was investigated. The morphology and microstructures of the green deposited films have been investigated using a scanning electron microscope (SEM). The green Bi2Te3 films have shown good adhesion to the substrate. In summary, this study has shown that not only EPD of p-type Bi2Te3 material is possible, but its thick film is of high quality for TE applications.
A high quality crack-free film of Bi2Te3 material has been deposited for the first time using electrophoretic deposition (EPD) and microstructures of various films have been investigated. One of the most important thermoelectric (TE) applications is Bi2Te3 to manufacture TE generators (TEG) which can convert waste heat into electricity targeting the global warming issue. However, the high cost of the manufacturing process of TEGs keeps them expensive and out of reach for commercialization. Therefore, utilizing EPD as a simple and cost-effective method will open new opportunities for TEG’s commercialization. This method has been recently used for advanced materials such as microelectronics and has attracted a lot of attention from both scientists and industry. In this study, the effect of media of suspensions has been investigated on the quality of the deposited films as well as their microstructure. In summary, finding an appropriate suspension is a critical step for a successful EPD process and has an important effect on both the film’s quality and its future properties.