The silicides have obvious attractive characteristics that make them promising materials as thermoelectric energy converters. The constituting elements are abundant and have low price, many of compounds have good high temperature stability. Therefore, considerable efforts have been made, especially in the past 10 years, in order to develop efficient silicide-based thermoelectric materials. These efforts have culminated in creation of Mg2(Si-Sn) n-type thermoelectric alloys with proven maximum thermoelectric figure of merit ZT of 1.3. This success is based on combination of two approaches to maximize the thermoelectric performance: the band structure engineering and the alloying. In this chapter, we review data on crystal and electronic structure as well as on the thermoelectric properties of Mg2X compounds and their solid solutions.
Part of the book: Thermoelectrics for Power Generation