Editorial Feature

Bismuth Telluride (Bi2Te3) Semiconductors

Bismuth telluride is a compound of tellurium and bismuth. When alloyed with selenium or antimony, it acts as an efficient thermoelectric material suitable for portable power generation or refrigeration. It is a narrow gap layered semiconductor with a trigonal unit cell. It mainly occurs in a rare mineral tellurobismuthite. It is produced by sealing bismuth and tellurium metals in a quartz tube under a vacuum.


Bismuth telluride finds applications in the following:

  • Power generation or cooling applications
  • Topological insulators.

Chemical Properties

The chemical properties of bismuth telluride are provided in the table below:

Chemical Properties
Chemical Formula Bi2Te3
Molecular Weight 800.76
CAS No. 1304-82-1
Group Bismuth – 15
Tellurium - 16
Crystal Structure Hexagonal-Rhombohedral
Lattice Constant a = 4.38 Å
c = 30.45 Å

Electrical Properties

The electrical properties of bismuth telluride are provided in the table below:

Electrical Properties
Band Gap 0.21 eV
Electron Mobility 1140 cm2/Vs
Hole Mobility 680 cm2/Vs

Thermal and Mechanical Properties

The thermal and mechanical properties of bismuth telluride are provided in the tables below:

Thermal Properties
Thermal Conductivity 3 W/mK
Mechanical Properties
Density 7.73 g/cm3
Melting Point 585°C
Mohs Hardness 1.8
Knoop Hardness 155

Safety Information

Safety Information
GHS Hazard Statements H302 - Harmful if swallowed
H312 - Harmful in contact with skin
H315 - Causes skin irritation
H319 - Causes serious eye irritation
H332 - Harmful if inhaled
H335 - May cause respiratory irritation.
Safety Precautions P261 - Avoid breathing dust/ fume/ gas/ mist/ vapors/ spray
P280 - Wear protective gloves/ protective clothing
P305 + P351 + P338 - IF IN EYES: Rinse cautiously with water for several minutes. Remove contact lenses, if present and easy to do. Continue rinsing.


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