Electrocaloric effects in the lead-free Ba(Zr,Ti)O3 relaxor ferroelectric from atomistic simulations
AbstractAtomistic effective Hamiltonian simulations are used to investigate electrocaloric (EC) effects in the lead-free Ba(Zr0.5Ti0.5)O3 (BZT) relaxor ferroelectric. We find that the EC coefficient varies nonmonotonically with the field at any temperature, presenting a maximum that can be traced back to the behavior of BZT's polar nanoregions. We also introduce a simple Landau-based model that reproduces the EC behavior of BZT as a function of field and temperature, and which is directly applicable to other compounds. Finally, we confirm that, for low temperatures (i.e., in nonergodic conditions), the usual indirect approach to measure the EC response provides an estimate that differs quantitatively from a direct evaluation of the field-induced temperature change.