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Ferroelectric Phase Transformations for Energy Conversion and Storage Applications

  • Author(s): Jo, Hwan Ryul
  • Advisor(s): Lynch, Christopher S
  • et al.

Ferroelectric materials possess a spontaneous polarization and actively respond to external mechanical, electrical, and thermal loads. Due to their coupled behavior, ferroelectric materials are used in products such as sensors, actuators, detectors, and transducers.

However, most current applications rely on low-energy conversion that involves low magnitude fields. They utilize the low-field linear properties of ferroelectric materials (piezoelectric, pyroelectric) and do not take full advantage of the large-field nonlinear behavior (irreversible domain wall motion, phase transformations) that can occur in ferroelectric materials. When external fields exceed a certain critical level, a structural transformation of the crystal can occur. These phase transformations are accompanied by a much larger response than the linear piezoelectric and pyroelectric responses, by as much as a multiple of ten times in the magnitude. This makes the non-linear behavior in ferroelectric materials promising for energy harvesting and energy storage technologies which will benefit from large-energy conversion. Yet, the ferroelectric phase transformation behavior under large external fields have been less studied and only a few studies have been directed at utilizing this large material response in applications. This dissertation addresses the development ferroelectric phase transformation-based applications, with particular focus on the materials.

Development of the ferroelectric phase transformation-based applications was approached in several steps. First, the phase transformation behavior was fully characterized and understood by measuring the phase transformation responses under mechanical, electrical, thermal, and combined loads. Once the behavior was well characterized, systems level applications were addressed. This required assessing the effect of the phase transformation behavior on system performance. The performance of ferroelectric devices is strongly dependent on material properties and phase transformation behavior which can be tailored by modifying the chemical composition, processing conditions, and the loading history (poling). This results in optimization of system performance by tailoring material properties and phase transformation behavior. This approach applied to three ferroelectric phase transformation-based applications:

1. Ferroelectric energy generation

2. Ferroelectric high-energy storage capacitor

3. Ferroelectric thermal energy harvesting

This dissertation has addressed tuning the large field properties for phase transformation-based systems.

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