Strategies for tuning the thermal conductivity of crystals by means of external fields are rare. Here, we predict the existence of large magnetophononic effects in materials that undergo antiferromagnetic (AFM) ↔ ferromagnetic (FM) phase transitions, which allow for the modulation of the lattice heat conductivity, κL, via the application of magnetic fields.
Specifically, by using first-principles methods we predict a large and anomalous κL increase of ≈40% for the metamagnetic phase transition occurring in bulk FeRh near room temperature. The disclosed magnetophononic effects are caused by large anharmonic spin-phonon couplings, namely, significant differences in the phase space of allowed phonon-phonon collision processes taking place in the respective AFM and FM phases.
Oxides for new-generation electronics
Dynamical tuning of the thermal conductivity via magnetophononic effects