Electrocaloric effect in relaxor ferroelectrics

R. Pirc, Z. Kutnjak, R. Blinc, Q. M. Zhang

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A theoretical model for the electrocaloric effect (ECE) in relaxor ferroelectrics is presented. By solving a self-consistent relation for the ECE temperature change T and minimizing numerically the mean field free energy for relaxors, the field and temperature dependence of T is calculated. The corresponding harmonic Landau coefficient a = a (T), which differs from the ferroelectric case by always being positive, is derived from the spherical random bond-random field model, and the fourth-order coefficient b is treated as a phenomenological parameter, which can be either positive or negative. For b < 0, a line of field-induced first-order relaxor-to-ferroelectric phase transitions exists in relaxors, which terminates at a liquid-vapor type critical point ECP, TCP. The critical behavior close to E CP, TCP is analyzed. It is shown that near the first-order phase transition a temperature or field interval or gap formally appears, where T cannot be found. However, domain formation in the coexistence range should restore the continuous behavior of the ECE observed in real systems. Finally, it is shown that the ECE responsivity R 1 = T / E reaches a maximum near the critical point, in agreement with recent experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number074113
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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