Phonon engineering through crystal chemistry†
Mitigation of the global energy crisis requires tailoring the thermal conductivity of materials. Low thermal conductivity is critical in a broad range of energy conversion technologies, including thermoelectrics and thermal barrier coatings. Here, we review the chemical trends and explore the origins of low thermal conductivity in crystalline materials. A unifying feature in the latest materials is the incorporation of structural complexity to decrease the phonon velocity and increase scattering. With this understanding, strategies for combining these mechanisms can be formulated for designing new materials with exceptionally low thermal conductivity.