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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2013, Article ID 172504, 6 pages
Research Article

Effect of Surfactant Concentration Variation on the Thermoelectric Properties of Mesoporous ZnO

1Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Yonsei University, Seoul 120-749, Republic of Korea
2School of Mechanical Engineering, Yonsei University, Seoul 120-749, Republic of Korea
3Korea Institute of Ceramic Engineering and Technology, Seoul 153-801, Republic of Korea
4Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA

Received 7 May 2013; Revised 10 August 2013; Accepted 22 August 2013

Academic Editor: Jin-Sang Kim

Copyright © 2013 Min-Hee Hong et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The electrical and thermal conductivities and the Seebeck coefficient of mesoporous ZnO thin films were investigated to determine the change of their thermoelectric properties by controlling surfactant concentration in the mesoporous ZnO films, because the thermoelectric properties of mesoporous ZnO films can be influenced by the porosity of the mesoporous structures, which is primarily determined by surfactant concentration in the films. Mesoporous ZnO thin films were successfully synthesized by using sol-gel and evaporation-induced self-assembly processes. Zinc acetate dihydrate and Brij-76 were used as the starting material and pore structure-forming template, respectively. The porosity of mesoporous ZnO thin films increased from 29% to 40% with increasing surfactant molar ratio. Porosity can be easily altered by controlling the molar ratio of surfactant/precursor. The electrical and thermal conductivity and Seebeck coefficients showed a close correlation with the porosity of the films, indicating that the thermoelectric properties of thin films can be changed by altering their porosity. Mesoporous ZnO thin films with the highest porosity had the best thermoelectric properties (the lowest thermal conductivity and the highest Seebeck coefficient) of the films examined.