Understanding Diameter and Length Effects in a Solution‐Processable Tellurium‐Poly(3,4‐Ethylenedioxythiophene) Polystyrene Sulfonate Hybrid Thermoelectric Nanowire Mesh
Organic–inorganic hybrids offer great promise as solution-processable thermoelectric materials. However, they have struggled to surpass the performance of their rigid inorganic counterparts due, in part, to a lack of synthetic control and limited understanding of how inorganic nanostructure dimensions impact overall charge transport. While it has been hypothesized that length, diameter, and aspect ratio (AR) all impact electronic transport in hybrid nanowires, the field lacks clarity on the relative role of each. In this study, the experimental parameter of ligand molecular weight (MW) is investigated as a synthetic knob for modulating nanowire dimensions, as well as the deconvolution of nanowire length versus diameter impacts on electron transport. By increasing ligand MW, larger nanowire AR dispersions occur and an optimal power factor of ≈130 μWm−1 K−2 is achieved for a modest AR of 73. Power factors of this magnitude are thought to only be achievable in ultrahigh AR systems; representing a 183% increase in performance over literature reports with similar AR. Additionally, nanowire diameter is demonstrated to be a far more sensitive parameter for enhancing performance than modulating length. This study provides improved fundamental insight into rational synthetic design avenues for future enhancements in the performance of hybrid materials.