We are developing and exploring new materials with extraordinary thermal properties based on spin. The recent demonstration of high magnon thermal conductivity at room temperature and the observation of a new thermo-transport effect called the spin-Seebeck effect (SSE) indicate significant opportunities for breakthrough research, uncovering new pathways to engineer thermal properties and generate spin transport in solids. Such discoveries have potential to impact DoD capabilities through the development of new materials and devices for thermal management and waste heat recovery. Since most energy is lost to heat, even small improvements in managing thermal energy would offer a dramatic increase in energy efficiency. Notably, after only 4 years of its discovery, the magnitude of the SSE was recently increased to ~10mV/K, comparable to the largest classical Seebeck coefficients. Thus, with improved understanding of the underlying mechanism of SSE, the anticipated outcome is a new pathway to optimize thermal energy conversion devices that could surpass charge-based thermoelectrics.
The multidisciplinary team of researchers combines the materials science and physics of thermal transport, magnetism, and spin-physics. Led by The Ohio State University, the team also includes University of California at Los Angeles, University of Texas - Austin, University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign, and University of Chicago, The current activities include development of new epitaxial magnetic materials and structures towards understanding SSE mechanisms, expanding and refining theories on interface spin conductance and magnon-phonon drag interactions, and predicting new materials to enhance spin/heat coupling phenomena to help guide experiments.
The MURI is a five year multidisciplinary university research initiative funded by the Army Research Office (ARO). It represents the first large team effort in the US focused on spin caloritronics. The initiative officially began in March 2014 is jointly managed by Dr. Chakrapani Varanasi (ARO) and Dr. Mark Spector (ONR), and is led by Dr. Roberto Myers (OSU).