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Prof. Kai Liu’s group publishes a review article in Materials Today, summarizing recent progresses on studies of the smart phase-change material, VO2

On April 16th, an international team led by Kai Liu, associate professor from the School of Materials Science and Engineering at Tsinghua University, Prof. Junqiao Wu at University of California, Berkeley, Prof. Sangwook Lee at Kyungpook National University, and Prof. Olivier Delaire and Ms. Shan Yang at Duke University, published their collaborative work as a review article in Materials Today. This review paper, entitled “Recent progresses on physics and applications of vanadium dioxide”, summarizes the fundamentals, modulations, applications, and challenges of a famous phase-change material, VO2.

VO2 is a strongly correlated material that has distinguished itself from other materials with its unique metal-insulator transition (MIT) accompanied by a structural transition since the discovery in 1959. The MIT occurs at a temperature (68 C) that is conveniently accessible, and causes drastic changes in electrical conductivity, optical absorption, dielectric constants, and lattice constants. In VO2, the transition in both electronic and lattice structures are coupled together, which leads to the long-term disputation of the MIT mechanism. Recent years have witnessed exciting discoveries in the understanding of the VO2 MIT due to advances in scientific instrumentation, computational power and synthesis methods that enabled new explorations.

To review recent progresses on the physics and applications of VO2, Prof. Liu et al first introduce the lattice and electronic structures as well as magnetic properties of VO2, and then discuss the mechanism and dynamics of its MIT. Non-thermal modulation means including stress, pressure, defects, and electrical fields are further demonstrated. After that, some recently developed synthesis methods of VO2 thin films and nanowires are reviewed. And at last, a wide range of applications such as infrared detection, thermochromics, transistors, actuators, thermal regulators, and metamaterials are shown. This review not only offers a summary of the properties and applications of VO2, but also provides insights into future research of this material through highlighting some of the challenges and opportunities.

Prof. Liu’s group are focused on modulations and applications of smart phase-change materials and 2-dimensional materials. They have obtained a series of achievements in recent years in the subjects of the development of VO2-based flexible actuators and infrared camouflage devices, and the substrate engineering of 2D materials. In this work, Prof. Kai Liu is the first-author and Prof. Junqiao Wu is the corresponding author. The School of Materials Science and Engineering at Tsinghua University is appointed as the first completed affiliation address.

Materials Today is a famous academic journal (IF=21.7) in the field of materials science, which publishes both important reviews and research articles with 10 issues annually.



Figure 1. Dependence of resistivity of VO2 on temperature during heating and cooling processes. Insets show the lattice and band structures across the metal-to-insulator transition.

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