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Magnetic cooling close to a quantum phase transition—The case of Er2
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Magnetic cooling, first introduced in the late twenties of last century, has regained considerable interest recently as a cost-efficient and easy-to-handle alternative to 3He-based refrigeration techniques. Especially, adiabatic demagnetization of paramagnets—the standard materials for magnetic refrigeration—has become indispensable for the present space applications. To match the growing demand for increasing the efficiency in these applications, a new concept for magnetic cooling based on many-body effects around a quantum-critical-point has been introduced and successfully tested [B. Wolf et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 108, 6862 (2011)]. By extending this concept to three-dimensional magnetic systems, we present here the magnetothermal response of the cubic pyrochlore material Er2Ti2O7 in the vicinity of its B-induced quantum-critical point which is located around 1.5 T. We discuss performance characteristics such as the range of operation, the efficiency, and the hold time. These figures are compared with those of state-of-the-art paramagnetic coolants and with other quantum-critical systems which differ by the dimensionality of the magnetic interactions and the degree of frustration.
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