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Pyroelectric energy conversion with large energy and power density in relaxor ferroelectric thin films

The need for efficient energy utilization is driving research into ways to harvest ubiquitous waste heat. Here, we explore pyroelectric energy conversion from low-grade thermal sources that exploits strong field- and temperature-induced polarization susceptibilities in the relaxor ferroelectric 0.68Pb(Mg1/3Nb2/3)O3–0.32PbTiO3. Electric-field-driven enhancement of the pyroelectric response (as large as −550 μC m−2 K−1) and suppression of the dielectric response (by 72%) yield substantial figures of merit for pyroelectric energy conversion. Field- and temperature-dependent pyroelectric measurements highlight the role of polarization rotation and field-induced polarization in mediating these effects. Solid-state, thin-film devices that convert low-grade heat into electrical energy are demonstrated using pyroelectric Ericsson cycles, and optimized to yield maximum energy density, power density and efficiency of 1.06 J cm−3, 526 W cm−3 and 19% of Carnot, respectively; the highest values reported to date and equivalent to the performance of a thermoelectric with an effective ZT ≈ 1.16 for a temperature change of 10 K. Our findings suggest that pyroelectric devices may be competitive with thermoelectric devices for low-grade thermal harvesting.

Authors:   Shishir Pandya; Joshua Wilbur; Jieun Kim; Ran Gao; Arvind Dasgupta; Chris Dames; Lane W. Martin
Journal:   Nature Materials
Volume:   17
edition:   5
Year:   2018
Pages:   432
DOI:   10.1038/s41563-018-0059-8
Publication date:   16-Apr-2018
Facts, background information, dossiers
  • Energy
  • temperature
  • polarization
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