Giant Mechanocaloric Effects in Fluorite-Structured Superionic Materials

C Cazorla and D Errandonea, NANO LETTERS, 16, 3124-3129 (2016).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.6b00422

Mechanocaloric materials experience a change in temperature when a mechanical stress is applied on them adiabatically. Thus, far, only ferroelectrics and superelastic metallic alloys have been considered as potential mechanocaloric compounds to be exploited in solid-state cooling applications. Here we show that giant mechanocaloric effects occur in hitherto overlooked fast ion conductors (FIC), a class of multicomponent materials in which above a critical temperature, T-s, a constituent ionic species undergoes a sudden increase in mobility. Using first-principles and molecular dynamics simulations, we found that the superionic transition in fluorite-structured FIC, which is characterized by a large entropy increase of the order of 10(2) JK(-1) kg(-1), can be externally tuned with hydrostatic, biaxial, or uniaxial stresses. In particular, T-s can be reduced several hundreds of degrees through the application of moderate tensile stresses due to the concomitant drop in the formation energy of Frenkel pair defects. We predict that the adiabatic temperature change in CaF2 and PbF2, two archetypal fluorite- structured FIC, close to their critical points are of the order of 10(2) and 10(1) K, respectively. This work advocates that FIC constitute a new family of mechanocaloric materials showing great promise for prospective solid-state refrigeration applications.

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