- Magnetic refrigeration towards room-temperature applications
- Physica B-Condensed Matter
- Volume | Issue number
- 327 | 2/4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Van der Waals-Zeeman Institute (WZI)
Modern society relies very much on readily available cooling. Magnetic refrigeration based on the magneto-caloric effect (MCE) has become a promising competitive technology for the conventional gas-compression/expansion technique in use today. Recently, there have been two breakthroughs in magnetic-refrigeration research: one is that American scientists demonstrated the world's first room-temperature, permanent-magnet, magnetic refrigerator; the other one is that we discovered a new class of magnetic refrigerant materials for room-temperature applications. The new materials are manganese-iron-phosphorus-arsenic (MnFe(P,As)) compounds. This new material has important advantages over existing magnetic coolants: it exhibits a huge MCE, which is larger than that of Gd metal; and its operating temperature can be tuned from about 150 to about 335 K by adjusting the P/As ratio. Here we report on further improvement of the materials by increasing the Mn content. The large entropy change is attributed to a field-induced first-order phase transition enhancing the effect of the applied magnetic field. Addition of Mn reduces the thermal hysteresis, which is intrinsic to the first-order transition. This implies that already moderate applied magnetic fields of below 2 T may suffice.
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