Thermal transport; bipolar conduction; non-parabolicity; figure-of-merits
Usefulness of a material in thermoelectric devices is temperature specific. The central problem in thermoelectric material research is the selection of materials with high figure-of-merit in the given temperature range of operation. It is of considerable interest to know the utility range of the material, which is decided by the degrading effect of minority carrier conduction. Lead telluride is among the best-known materials for use in the temperature range 400–900 K. This paper presents a detailed theoretical investigation of the role of minority carriers in degrading the thermoelectric properties of lead telluride and outlines the temperature range for optimal performance.