Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

George S. Nolas


heat capacity, Silicon, single-crystal, thermal conductivity, thermoelectric, Zintl


The search of materials relevant for thermoelectric and magnetocaloric applications, as well as materials that interact with light, is an important aspect of the materials science. Such materials can be used for solid-state power generation and refrigeration, as light sources, detectors, or controllers. Intermetallic clathrates have long been of interest for the materials science research. The promise these materials hold for useful applications ranges from thermoelectrics to photovoltaics and optoelectronics to potentially ultra-hard materials and magnetic cooling applications. Their unique physical properties are intimately related to their intriguing structural properties. Thus a fundamental understanding of the chemistry and physics of inorganic clathrates offers the possibility to assess their potential for use in the various applications mentioned above.

In this work the selective, phase pure, single-crystal growth of AxSi46 and AySi136 (A = Na, K) intermetallic clathrates by the new vapor-phase intercalation method is presented. The approach appears promising for accessing regions of the equilibrium diagrams for Na-Si and K-Si clathrates that can be otherwise difficult to reach due to the greatly differing properties of the constituent elements. Physical properties of these materials were investigated in terms of single-crystal diffraction, electrical and thermal properties measurements.

The synthesis and structural properties of single crystals of NaxSi136 are presented. A two-step synthetic approach was employed for the synthesis of NaxSi136 which also allowed for low temperature transport measurements of polycrystalline NaxSi136.

The potential of the Eu8Ga16Ge30 type-I and VIII - EuO composites for magnetocaloric applications is discussed. The type-I clathrate - EuO composites hold promise for active magnetic refrigeration around 70 K.