Skip to main content

Broad Distribution of Local Polar States Generates Large Electrothermal Properties in Pb-Free Relaxor Ferroelectrics...

Publication Type
Journal Name
Chemistry of Materials
Publication Date
Page Numbers
8844 to 8853

Electrothermal energy conversion provides attractive solutions for global energy management, such as energy harvesting from waste heat using pyroelectric energy conversion (PEC) and efficient cooling of portable electronics or data servers using the electrocaloric effect. Relaxor ferroelectrics are attractive for electrothermal energy conversion because of their large pyroelectric coefficients over a wide temperature range. Although Pb-based relaxors are well-known, toxicity concerns have mandated the intense search for Pb-free alternatives. Here, we engineered (Ba,Ca)TiO3-based relaxors based on a multisite doping strategy, which show promising electrothermal performance, viz. a maximum PEC efficiency of 14% and electrocaloric refrigeration capacity of 115 J/kg. Using local-scale structural analysis, we provide an atomistic model for large electrothermal properties in the newly designed Pb-free ferroelectrics, whereby a temperature-independent continuous distribution of cation displacement directions creates easy pathways for microscopic polarization reorientation. This research provides key structural insight for future atomic-scale engineering of environmentally sustainable ferroelectrics in energy applications.