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  1. Abstract Materials with tunable thermal properties enable on-demand control of temperature and heat flow, which is an integral component in the development of solid-state refrigeration, energy scavenging, and thermal circuits. Although gap-based and liquid-based thermal switches that work on the basis of mechanical movements have been an effective approach to control the flow of heat in the devices, their complex mechanisms impose considerable costs in latency, expense, and power consumption. As a consequence, materials that have multiple solid-state phases with distinct thermal properties are appealing for thermal management due to their simplicity, fast switching, and compactness. Thus, an ideal thermal switch should operate near or above room temperature, have a simple trigger mechanism, and offer a quick and large on/off switching ratio. In this study, we experimentally demonstrate that manipulating phonon scattering rates can switch the thermal conductivity of antiferroelectric PbZrO 3 bidirectionally by −10% and +25% upon applying electrical and thermal excitation, respectively. Our approach takes advantage of two separate phase transformations in PbZrO 3 that alter the phonon scattering rate in different manners. In this study, we demonstrate that PbZrO 3 can serve as a fast (<1 second), repeatable, simple trigger, and reliable thermal switch with a net switchingmore »ratio of nearly 38% from ~1.20 to ~1.65 W m −1 K −1 .« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  2. Abstract As the length scales of materials decrease, the heterogeneities associated with interfaces become almost as important as the surrounding materials. This has led to extensive studies of emergent electronic and magnetic interface properties in superlattices 1–9 . However, the interfacial vibrations that affect the phonon-mediated properties, such as thermal conductivity 10,11 , are measured using macroscopic techniques that lack spatial resolution. Although it is accepted that intrinsic phonons change near boundaries 12,13 , the physical mechanisms and length scales through which interfacial effects influence materials remain unclear. Here we demonstrate the localized vibrational response of interfaces in strontium titanate–calcium titanate superlattices by combining advanced scanning transmission electron microscopy imaging and spectroscopy, density functional theory calculations and ultrafast optical spectroscopy. Structurally diffuse interfaces that bridge the bounding materials are observed and this local structure creates phonon modes that determine the global response of the superlattice once the spacing of the interfaces approaches the phonon spatial extent. Our results provide direct visualization of the progression of the local atomic structure and interface vibrations as they come to determine the vibrational response of an entire superlattice. Direct observation of such local atomic and vibrational phenomena demonstrates that their spatial extent needs to be quantifiedmore »to understand macroscopic behaviour. Tailoring interfaces, and knowing their local vibrational response, provides a means of pursuing designer solids with emergent infrared and thermal responses.« less