Explicating the irreversible electric-field-assisted ferroelectric phase transition in the otherwise antiferroelectric sodium niobate for energy storage systems

Kwangrae Kim, Woohyun Hwang, Ji Hwan Lee, Aloysius Soon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

To meet the increasing demand for environment-friendly, high-performance energy devices, sodium niobate (NaNbO3) is considered one of the most promising lead-free antiferroelectric (AFE) oxide perovskites for green energy storage applications. However, as disclosed by recent experimental reports, under an external electric field, the room-temperature AFE P phase of NaNbO3 has been demonstrated to undergo an irreversible phase transition to the ferroelectric (FE) Q phase. This puzzle challenges our current atomic-scale understanding of this field-induced AFE-to-FE transition, and thus hinders the widespread use of NaNbO3 in lead-free AFE energy storage devices. To unravel this puzzle, we perform first-principles density-functional theory calculations to establish phase stability maps of the NaNbO3 polymorphs determined from group-subgroup relations. For the first time, we identify two new key intermediates (P′ and Q′) via the symmetry-adapted phonon mode analysis based on high-symmetry cubic phase and minimum energy pathway transition state searches, that facilitate de novo phase transition pathways for the switching of polarization with significantly lowered energy barriers. By means of a phenomenological Landau-Devonshire model, we predict and explain why these new intermediates can rationalize the persistent lack of a double polarization-electric field hysteresis for NaNbO3 under an applied field. This sets the design platform for future precise engineering of NaNbO3 at the atomic-scale for lead-free AFE energy storage applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10500-10510
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry C
Volume10
Issue number29
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jul 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry

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