Mechanocaloric effects in superionic thin films from atomistic simulations

AK Sagotra and D Errandonea and C Cazorla, NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, 8, 963 (2017).

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-01081-7

Solid-state cooling is an energy-efficient and scalable refrigeration technology that exploits the adiabatic variation of a crystalline order parameter under an external field (electric, magnetic, or mechanic). The mechanocaloric effect bears one of the greatest cooling potentials in terms of energy efficiency owing to its large available latent heat. Here we show that giant mechanocaloric effects occur in thin films of well-known families of fast-ion conductors, namely Li-rich (Li3OCl) and type-I (AgI), an abundant class of materials that routinely are employed in electrochemistry cells. Our simulations reveal that at room temperature AgI undergoes an adiabatic temperature shift of 38 K under a biaxial stress of 1 GPa. Likewise, Li3OCl displays a cooling capacity of 9 K under similar mechanical conditions although at a considerably higher temperature. We also show that ionic vacancies have a detrimental effect on the cooling performance of superionic thin films. Our findings should motivate experimental mechanocaloric searches in a wide variety of already known superionic materials.

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