Voltage-Controlled Bistable Thermal Conductivity in Suspended Ferroelectric Thin-Film Membranes

Brian M. Foley, Margeaux Wallace, John T. Gaskins, Elizabeth A. Paisley, Raegan L. Johnson-Wilke, Jong Woo Kim, Philip J. Ryan, Susan Trolier-Mckinstry, Patrick E. Hopkins, Jon F. Ihlefeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Ferroelastic domain walls in ferroelectric materials possess two properties that are known to affect phonon transport: a change in crystallographic orientation and a lattice strain. Changing populations and spacing of nanoscale-spaced ferroelastic domain walls lead to the manipulation of phonon-scattering rates, enabling the control of thermal conduction at ambient temperatures. In the present work, lead zirconate titanate (PZT) thin-film membrane structures were fabricated to reduce mechanical clamping to the substrate and enable a subsequent increase in the ferroelastic domain wall mobility. Under application of an electric field, the thermal conductivity of PZT increases abruptly at ∼100 kV/cm by ∼13% owing to a reduction in the number of phonon-scattering domain walls in the thermal conduction path. The thermal conductivity modulation is rapid, repeatable, and discrete, resulting in a bistable state or a "digital" modulation scheme. The modulation of thermal conductivity due to changes in domain wall configuration is supported by polarization-field, mechanical stiffness, and in situ microdiffraction experiments. This work opens a path toward a new means to control phonons and phonon-mediated energy in a digital manner at room temperature using only an electric field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25493-25501
Number of pages9
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number30
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science


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