Manipulating the thermal conductivity of solids is important for practical applications. Due to the fact that phonons in thermoelectric materials have longer mean free paths (MFPs) than electrons, strengthening phonon scattering to reduce lattice thermal conductivity (kappa(lat)) becomes the most straightforward and effective approach to enhance the thermoelectric figure of merit, ZT, which determines the maximum device efficiency. Phonons have a wide range of MFPs in semiconductors, and different dimensions of lattice defects can be targeted to scatter particular phonons with distinct relaxation times. Designing hierarchical nano-microstructures, spanning from point defects to volume defects, would be beneficial to achieve low kappa(lat) via a full spectrum of phonon scattering. Herein, we review the formation and underlying mechanisms for lattice defects and highlight the role of all-scale hierarchical nano-microstructure on phonon engineering. Existing challenges in simulations are also discussed.
Dealloying, the selective dissolution of less noble elements from an alloy, enables the preparation of monolithic macroscale bodies, which at the nanostructure level exhibit a network of ligaments with a well-defined characteristic size that can be tuned to between a few nanometers and several microns. These porous solids can be made with macroscale dimensions, and, prior to dealloying, can be shaped to form engineered components. Their surface-to-volume ratio is extremely large and their bicontinuous structure provides transport pathways to tune the surface state under control of an electric or chemical potential. These materials present new opportunities for exploring the impact of surfaces on material behaviors and for exploiting surface effects in novel materials design strategies. New experimental approaches unraveling surface effects involving small-scale plasticity and elasticity have been demonstrated. Approaches to new functional materials include electrochemical potential switching of strength, stiffness, fracture resistance, fluid sorption, actuation, and quasi-piezoelectric strain sensing.
The field of lead-free piezoceramics, which aims to replace lead zirconate titanate (PZT) and related perovskite materials, has been vibrant for almost 15 years. Once the science in this field attained a certain stage of maturity, materials with properties better than PZT have appeared, and the first products are about to reach the marketplace. This article describes the three most promising lead-free piezoceramics currently under discussion to replace PZT. Each has a pronounced property profile geared for specific applications. Guidelines for directions for fundamental future research on as well as technology transfer to industry of lead-free piezoceramics are provided.
Metallic materials are key for electrochemical energy conversion and storage when they are tailored into electrodes designed for rapid reaction kinetics, high electrical conductivities, and high stability. Nanoporous metals formed by dealloying could meet all of these requirements, as the dealloyed products beckon energy researchers with their fascinating structures and outstanding performance. In this article, we discuss the characteristics of dealloyed materials related to their functions in energy devices. We then review nanoporous metal electrodes for applications in fuel cells, supercapacitors, and batteries to provide insights into selection and design criteria for meeting the diverse needs of energy conversion and storage.
Multicaloric materials show thermal changes that can be driven simultaneously or sequentially by more than one type of external field. The use of more than one driving field can induce larger thermal changes, with smaller field magnitudes, over wider ranges of operating temperature, and can also eliminate hysteresis in one control parameter by transferring it to another. The thermodynamics behind multicaloric effects is well established, but only a small number of multicaloric materials have been experimentally studied to date. Here, we describe the fundamentals of multicaloric effects and discuss the performance of representative multicaloric materials. Exploiting multicaloric effects could aid the future development of cooling devices, where key challenges include energy efficiency and the span of the operating temperature.
Harvesting energy from otherwise wasted resources has been intensively investigated as a promising technology especially for enabling the deployment of autonomous wireless-sensor networks for the Internet of Things. Multi-stimulus energy harvesting, simultaneously from different energy sources, provides an attractive opportunity to amplify the power density of harvesters, thereby extending their potential for self-powered devices. In this article, we review recent and ongoing research efforts aimed at enhancing the energy-harvesting performance of magnetoelectric (ME) composite harvesters employing dual stimuli, mechanical vibrations, and magnetic fields. After a brief introduction to vibration, magnetic field, and dual-mode energy harvesting, we survey the key materials utilized for ME energy harvesting. We then focus on progress in this area and discuss relevant ideas to realize electromechanical and magnetoelectric coupling for harvesting energy from mechanical vibrations and magnetic fields simultaneously. We provide perspectives and future directions as well.
The rapid increase and dependency on mobile electronic devices and burgeoning importance of sensor network systems and Internet of Things (IoT) to sustain an aging society indicates the strong need to develop battery-less and mobile power sources. Materials for energy harvesting from environmental sources, including mechanical vibrations, magnetic field, heat, and light have become highly relevant for implementation of the IoT vision that requires self-powered wireless sensor networks for sustainable deployment. The articles in this issue cover piezoelectric materials, magnetoelectrics, and thermoelectrics and provide a summary of state-of-the-art energy-harvesting approaches, various material design strategies being targeted by the community, and fundamental challenges in finding an optimum solution and future roadmap. Flexibility of energy harvesters is also emphasized, given the huge potential for wearables. Photovoltaics are briefly covered with respect to wearables and textiles.
The structural characterization of dealloyed nanoporous metals is a fundamental and active area of research, needed for the optimization of these structures for catalytic, electrosensing, biomedical, and mechanical functions. The prediction of properties requires identifying and quantifying salient structural characteristics, while insights into the relevant mechanisms of dealloying and coarsening can be achieved through in situ observations of structural evolution. Three-dimensional structural characterization techniques have advanced such that nanoscale quantification of topology, morphology, and crystallographic parameters are achievable, yet the field is new enough that the assessment and comparison of such parameters of different nanoporous metals are just beginning. Here, we explore the state of the art in structural characterization, focusing on nanoporous gold to exemplify the challenges, the achievements, and the potential associated with establishing an appropriate set of structural parameters for this unique class of materials.
Dealloying has evolved from a problematic corrosion process to a versatile tool for scalable fabrication of nanostructured metals. While the original, and majority of, work in the area has focused on electrochemical dealloying, a powerful variation of dealloyingliquid metal dealloyinghas recently gained popularity. This process relies on a melt to carry out selective dissolution, replacing the traditional electrolyte solution. While electrolytes and molten metals are both suitable dealloying media, they can lead to very different morphologies. In this article, we compare and contrast what is known about the microscale physics and chemistry controlling microstructural evolution in electrochemical and liquid metal dealloying. We conclude that the core phenomenology of porosity evolutiona competition between dissolution and interface diffusionis similar in both dealloying processes, but that the relative magnitudes of these two processes control interfacial pattern formation.
Ferroelectrics are promising for nonvolatile memories. However, the difficulty of fabricating ferroelectric layers and integrating them into complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) devices has hindered rapid scaling. Hafnium oxide is a standard material available in CMOS processes. Ferroelectricity in Si-doped hafnia was first reported in 2011, and this has revived interest in using ferroelectric memories for various applications. Ferroelectric hafnia with matured atomic layer deposition techniques is compatible with three-dimensional capacitors and can solve the scaling limitations in 1-transistor-1-capacitor (1T-1C) ferroelectric random-access memories (FeRAMs). For ferroelectric field-effect-transistors (FeFETs), the low permittivity and high coercive field E-c of hafnia ferroelectrics are beneficial. The much higher E-c of ferroelectric hafnia, however, makes high endurance a challenge. This article summarizes the current status of ferroelectricity in hafnia and explains how major issues of 1T-1C FeRAMs and FeFETs can be solved using this material system.
Nanoporous metals made by dealloying are macroscopic network architectures that can contain approximate to 10(15) nanoscale struts or ligaments per sample. Their mechanical performance is critical to their applications as functional or lightweight high-strength materials. Testing nanoporous metals at the macroscopic scale offers opportunities for unraveling the properties of nanoscale solids in general. The central questions in this area include whether the macroscopic strength and elastic modulus of nanoporous metals can be correlated with the properties of nanoscale ligaments by the classical Gibson-Ashby equations, whether the dealloying-made network structure differs from the conventional foam metals, how network connectivity influences mechanical response, and how ligament size and surface properties affect the elastic and plastic response of nanoscale solids and that of nanoporous metals, particularly the tension-compression asymmetry in strength. This article reviews the fundamental observations of the mechanical response of nanoporous metals with a focus on gold and the emerging understanding of the aforementioned issues.
Nanoporous metals obtained by dealloying have attracted significant attention for their unusual catalytic properties, and as model materials for fundamental studies of structure-property relationships in a variety of research areas. There has been a recent surge in the use of these metals for biomedical and bioanalytical applications, where many exciting opportunities exist. The goal of this article is to provide a review of recent progress in using nanoporous metals for biological applications, including as biosensors for detecting biomarkers of disease and multifunctional neural interfaces for monitoring and modulating the activity of neural tissue. The article emphasizes the unique properties of nanoporous gold and concludes by discussing its utility in addressing important challenges in biomedical devices.
The piezoelectric properties of lead-free ferroelectric materials have been dramatically improved over the past two decades. For some limited applications, their properties have reached the same levels or have even surpassed the properties of the benchmark lead-based material Pb(Zr,Ti)O-3 (PZT). Initial commercial lead-free products, including powders, ceramic components, films, and devices (e.g., ultrasonic cleaner, knocking sensor), are now available on the market. Several prototype devices, such as inkjet printheads, ultrasonic motors, angular sensors, and energy harvesters, have been developed. Their overall performance is still inferior to that of PZT-based devices; however, these prototypes and products point the way for future applications. Here, we provide an overview of recent industrial developments in the field and discuss the main advantages and disadvantages of lead-free piezoceramics for individual applications.
The focus on piezoelectric ceramics based on the potassium sodium niobate system began in 2004. After years of dedicated research, these materials can be considered one of the most promising lead-free piezoceramics with comprehensive performance. While their structure-property relationships are still not completely understood, the thermal stability issue is partly resolved, which leaves further room for phase-boundary engineering. Technological advancement has recently focused on using base metals as inner electrodes for multilayer actuators, which provides cost benefits as compared to lead zirconate titanate devices. The remaining challenges, however, such as poor sinterability and weak reproducibility of functional properties, still hinder extensive applications of these materials.
Research in thermoelectric (TE) quantum structures was greatly propelled by the prediction in the early 1990s of a significant boost in TE efficiency by quantum size effects. Recently, research interest has shifted from quantum size effects in conventional semiconductors toward new types of quantum materials (e.g., topological insulators [TIs], Weyl and Dirac semimetals) characterized by their nontrivial electronic topology. Bi-2 Te-3, Sb-2 Te-3, and Bi-2 Se-3, established TE materials, are also TIs exhibiting a bulk bandgap and highly conductive and robust gapless surface states. The signature of the nontrivial electronic band structure on TE transport properties can be best verified in transport experiments using nanowires and thin films. However, even in nanograined bulk, the typical peculiarities in the transport properties of TIs can be seen. Finally, the remarkable transport properties of Dirac and Weyl semimetals are discussed.
Dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) is the main memory in most current computers. The excellent scalability of DRAM has significantly contributed to the development of modern computers. However, DRAM technology now faces critical challenges associated with further scaling toward the similar to 10-nm technology node. This scaling will likely end soon because of the inherent limitations of charge-based memory. Much effort has been dedicated to delaying this. Novel cell architectures have been designed to reduce the cell area, and new materials and process technologies have been extensively investigated, especially for dielectrics and electrodes related to charge storage. In this article, the current issues, recent progress in and the future of DRAM materials, and fabrication technologies are discussed.
Conjugated polymers have emerged as potential candidates for thermal-energy harvesting. Their flexible and lightweight nature, as well as scalable processing, make them geometrically versatile for a large variety of applications, including powering wearable electronics that are not available for traditional inorganic materials. However, the long-range structural disorder greatly hinders their electrical conduction, and this far outweighs the induced low thermal conductivity; therefore, the thermoelectric performance needs to be significantly improved to fulfill the requirements of efficient devices. Composites and hybrid thermoelectric materials have been developed to capitalize on the individual strengths of conducting polymers and other components, including carbon nanotubes, graphene, and inorganic nanomaterials. In this article, we present recent advances in conjugated polymers, the associated hybrid thermoelectric composites, and the latest breakthroughs in the development of inorganic-organic hybrid superlattices.
This article overviews the current status of magnetocaloric materials for room-temperature refrigeration. We discuss the underlying mechanism of the magnetocaloric effect and illustrate differences between first- and second-order type materials starting with gadolinium as a reference system. Beyond the key functional properties of magnetocaloric materials, the adiabatic temperature, and entropy change, we briefly address the criticality of the most promising materials in terms of their supply risk. Looking at practical applications, suitable geometries and processing routes for magnetocaloric heat exchangers for device implementation are introduced.
Pseudoelastic NiTi-based shape-memory alloys (SMAs) have recently received attention as candidate materials for solid-state refrigeration. The elastocaloric effect in SMAs exploits stress-induced martensitic transformation, which is associated with large latent heat. Most importantly, cyclic mechanical loading/unloading provides large adiabatic temperature drops exceeding 25 K at high process efficiencies. This article summarizes the underlying principles, important material parameters and process requirements, and reviews recent progress in the development of pseudoelastic SMAs with large coefficients of performance, as well as very good functional fatigue resistance. The application potential of SMA film and bulk materials is demonstrated for the case of cyclic tensile loading/unloading in prototypes ranging from miniature-scale devices to large-scale cooling units.
BaTiO3-based lead-free piezoelectric materials have long been known as a mediocre class of piezoelectric materials. However, they have seen significant renewed interest in recent years ever since the discovery of high piezoelectricity in Ba(Zr, Ti)O-3-(Ba, Ca)TiO3 as well as the related Ba(Sn, Ti)O-3-(Ba, Ca)TiO3 and Ba(Hf, Ti)O-3-(Ba, Ca)TiO3 systems. The unexpectedly high piezoelectricity in this class of BaTiO3 (BT)-based materials is still not well understood and has stimulated significant research activity. We present a concise discussion of the notions leading to high piezoelectricity in BaTiO3-based systems. In particular, the possible role of a multiphase-coexisting point is highlighted.