Solid-state pyroelectric nanomaterials can be used for thermal-to-electrical energy conversion in the presence of temperature fluctuations. This article reports investigation of energy conversion in a 200 nm thick BaTiO3 film using the pyroelectric Ericsson cycle at cycle frequencies up to 3 kHz. The high cycle frequencies were achieved due to the low thermal mass of the nanometer-scale film, unlike previous studies in which the electrical power output was limited by the rate of heat transfer through the pyroelectric material. A microfabricated platform that allowed precise thermal and electrical cycling enabled us to study the effect of electric field range, temperature oscillation amplitude, and cycle frequency on the electrical power output from pyroelectric Ericsson cycles. We measured a maximum power density of 30 W/cm3 for a temperature range 20–120°C and electric field range 100–125 kV/cm, which represents a significant improvement over past work on pyroelectric cycles. The approach presented in this article could lead to high-power waste heat harvesting in systems with high-frequency temperature oscillations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-146
Number of pages10
JournalNanoscale and Microscale Thermophysical Engineering
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Pyroelectric energy conversion
  • pyroelectric Ericsson cycle
  • thin films
  • waste heat harvesting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials


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