Semi-conducting Clathrates - Versatile Materials for Thermoelectric and Advanced Technologies?
There has been a recent resurgence of interest on the study of the structures and properties of clathrates with frameworks consist of Group IV or Group III-V elements. It was demonstrated experimentally that with suitable dopings these clathrate materials can exhibit semi-conducting, metallic and superconducting properties. Furthermore, it has been suggested that the unique and anomalously low thermal conductivity can be exploited for high efficiency thermoelectric applications. In this presentation, the structural principles regarding the stability of these novel materials will be examined using a real space description based on the morphology of the local structure. Theoretical and experimental results on the characterization of the electronic and thermal properties of selected systems will be discussed.