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Information for Researchers No. 67 | 11 November 2014
Priority Programme „Caloric Effects in Ferroic Materials: New Concepts for Cooling“ (SPP 1599)

The Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has established a Priority Programme entitled ”Caloric Effects in Ferroic Materials: New Concepts for Cooling” (SPP 1599). The programme started in 2012 is designed to run for six years. Applications are now invited for the second three-year period of this Priority Programme.

Refrigeration is one of the main sinks of electric energy in Germany and Europe and accordingly contributes to worldwide CO2 emissions. High reduction potentials are envisaged if caloric effects in solid materials are utilised. The recent discovery of e.g. giant entropy changes associated with ferroic phase transformations promises higher efficiency. Ferroic transitions enhance the entropy change of magneto-, elasto-, baro- and electro-caloric effects. Furthermore, because the refrigerant is in a solid state, the technology completely eliminates the need for high global-warming potential halofluorocarbon refrigerants. The smaller footprint for operation and the scalable mechanism open up further applications such as cooling of microsystems.

The Priority Programme 1599 addresses the following major challenges for introducing ferroic materials in practical cooling applications: understanding of the underlying mechanisms, energy efficiency, effect size, fatigue, and system integration.

Projects proposals are required to cover one of the following “ferroic-caloric” material classes or combinations thereof: ferroelastic, ferromagnetic and ferroelectric materials. Proposals have to focus on basic or applied aspects of solid-state cooling processes.

In detail, the research programme of the Priority Programme will focus on four key problems related to ferroic cooling:

  • Which scheme is most efficient for solid state refrigeration? Giant caloric effects occur only in the vicinity of a first order transformation. For comparison experiments should focus on the direct adiabatic temperature change and cooling efficiency.
  • Which length and time scales are involved? Diffusionless transformations change the structure at the atomic scale. However, in real materials, the hysteretic transformation process creates complex microstructures spanning many length scales up to the macroscale. To understand hysteresis losses, collaborations should cover several length scales, consider coupling effects (thermo-mechanic-magnetic-electric) and, in particular, use suitable in-situ methods.
  • Which are the best materials and microstructures? Solid state cooling does not only require a maximised entropy change but also heat capacity and conductivity contribute to the cooling power. Hysteresis losses and fatigue, which are critical due to the high cycle numbers required for cooling demonstrators, should be addressed. Research should centre on environmentally friendly materials.
  • Which are competitive device concepts? The development of novel solid state cooling demonstrators is essential for the adaption of ferroic-caloric materials. Proposals should work out the advantage of the selected setup and consider the effort for the entire refrigeration system.

The complexity of ferroic cooling requires a close collaboration of materials scientists, engineers, physicists and mathematicians. The aim of this SPP is to bring groups from these disciplines together to combine their complementary expertise from basic research to application. Therefore joint proposals are encouraged. The number of principal investigators should reflect the complementary scientific expertise needed for the proposed research. These proposals should aim at a comprehensive assessment of efficiency of solid-state refrigeration, addressing the route from materials fundamentals to demonstrators. Proposals addressing methodological aspects relevant for understanding solid-state refrigeration must give detailed plans for bilateral cooperation with particular partners.

Proposals considering liquid/gaseous or thermoelectric refrigerants or focussing on actuation / sensor applications alone will not be funded. Also, concepts which aim on electric power generation will not be considered.

Proposals must be submitted in English no later than 11 March 2015 via the DFG’s electronic submission system “elan” selecting “SPP 1599”. Please follow the guidelines for project submission according to forms 50.05 and 54.01. Proposals by one applicant must not exceed 20 pages. Joint proposals may comprise five additional pages for each additional applicant. If you are using the elan system for the first time, please note that you need to register yourself and your institutional address before being able to submit a proposal. Also, if you are planning to move to a different institution (e.g. with a Temporary Position for Principal Investigators) you need to register the new institutional address beforehand. Please make sure that all applicants of your project (in case there is more than one) start their registration at the latest two weeks before the submission deadline. The registration requests are handled manually by DFG staff.

Please notice the rules for publication lists that have been modified: Beside the general bibliography every proposal should include a list of up to ten publications that relate directly to the project. Further, the number of publications that may be listed in any academic CV has been increased to up to ten as well. These publications need to be classified as a) refereed publications (published articles and monographs; accepted articles with note of acceptance by the journal) or b) other publications.

Proposals will be evaluated in the course of a colloquium in Dresden with short talks and poster presentations, scheduled for 9 June 2015.

Further Information

The DFG’s electronic portal “elan” can be found at:

Proposal guidelines and preparation instructions are outlined in DFG forms 50.05, Part B, and 54.01, which can be found on the DFG’s website at:

For scientific enquiries concerning the scope of the programme, please contact the Priority Programme’s coordinator:

Further instructions on submitting a proposal are supplied by the DFG:

For scientific matters:

  • Dr.-Ing. Burkhard Jahnen,
    Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft,
    53170 Bonn,
    phone +49228885-2487,

For administrative matters: