Is NiCo2S4 really a semiconductor?

Chuan Xia, Peng Li, Appala Gandi, Udo Schwingenschlögl, Husam N. Alshareef

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

209 Scopus citations


NiCo2S4 is a technologically important electrode material that has recently achieved remarkable performance in pseu-docapacitor, catalysis, and dye-synthesized solar cell applications.[1-5] Essentially, all reports on this material have pre-sumed it to be semiconducting, like many of the chalcogenides, with a reported band-gap in the range of 1.2-1.7 eV.[6,7] In this report, we have conducted detailed experimental and theoretical studies, most of which done for the first time, which overwhelmingly show that NiCo2S4 is in fact a metal. We have also calculated the Raman spectrum of this mate-rial and experimentally verified it for the first time, hence clarifying inconsistent Raman spectra reports. Some of the key results that support our conclusions include: (1) the measured carrier density in NiCo2S4 is 3.18×1022 cm-3, (2) Ni-Co2S4 has a room temperature resistivity of around 103 µΩ cm which increases with temperature, (3) NiCo2S4 exhibits a quadratic dependence of the magnetoresistance on magnetic field, (4) thermopower measurements show an extremely low Seebeck coefficient of 5 µV K-1, (5) first principles calculations confirm that NiCo2S4 is a metal. These results sug-gest that it is time to re-think the presumed semiconducting nature of this promising material. They also suggest that the metallic conductivity is another reason (besides the known significant redox activity) behind the excellent perfor-mance reported for this material.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6482-6485
Number of pages4
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number19
StatePublished - Sep 25 2015


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