The successful exfoliation of atomically-thin bismuth telluride quintuple layer (QL) attracts tremendous interest in investigating the electron and phonon transport properties in this quasi-two-dimensional material. While experimental results show that thermal conductivity is significantly reduced in Bi2Te3 QL compared to the bulk phase, the underlying mechanisms for the reduction is still unclear. Also in some measurements, the Bi2Te3 QL is usually supported on the substrate and the effect of the substrate on heat transfer in Bi2Te3 QL is unknown. In this work, we have performed molecular dynamics simulations and normal mode analysis to study the mode-wise phonon properties in freestanding and supported Bi2Te3 QL. We found that the existing of substrate will decrease the phonon relaxation times in Bi2Te3 QL in the full frequency range. Thermal conductivity accumulation function for both freestanding and supported Bi2Te3 QL are constructed and compared. We found that half of heat transfer in freestanding Bi2Te3 QL contributed from phonons with mean free paths larger than 16.5 nm, while in supported Bi2Te3 QL this value is reduced to 11 nm. In both cases phonons with MFPs in the range of 10–30 nm are the dominate heat carriers, which contribute to 55% and 53% of thermal conductivity in freestanding and supported cases.

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