The worldwide surge of interest in multiferroic materials over the past 15 years has been driven by their fascinating properties, as well as their huge suitability for technological applications. In fact, multiferroics have the potential to deliver a new wave of technological advances and economic impact, comparable to the silicon industrial revolution of the 1950s.
The possible applications of multiferroic materials cover a wide range of topics and technologies including sensors, microwave devices, energy harvesting, photovoltaic technologies, data storage recording technologies, random access multi-state memories and magneto-electric opto-electronic modulators, as detailed in a recently published review article . Moreover, a new application of multiferroic materials to solid-state refrigeration has been made possible by the 2012 discovery of a new solid-state caloric effect, the multicaloric effect [2,3].
In this lecture, the theory behind the solid-state refrigeration based on the multicaloric effect is presented in detail, with emphasis on possible improvements of the existing solid-state refrigeration technology, material synthesis challenges that must be further addressed and the benefits of composite multiferroics to the practical implementation of this new effect.