Research Papers: Experimental Techniques

Tuning Phonon Transport: From Interfaces to Nanostructures

[+] Author and Article Information
Pamela M. Norris

e-mail: pamela@virginia.edu

Christopher H. Baker

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering,
University of Virginia,
122 Engineer's Way,
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4746

The phonon radiation limit is a model that assumes a transmissivity of one for all incident phonons [11], although discussion in this work is limited to the aforementioned mismatch models and their derivatives.

Interface stability in certain material systems may also arise due to slow diffusion kinetics [49]. Nevertheless, for present purposes, thermodynamics offers a sufficient explanation linking interfaces and bond strengths.

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received October 17, 2012; final manuscript received December 23, 2012; published online May 16, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Leslie Phinney.

J. Heat Transfer 135(6), 061604 (May 16, 2013) (13 pages) Paper No: HT-12-1575; doi: 10.1115/1.4023584 History: Received October 17, 2012; Revised December 23, 2012

A wide range of modern technological devices utilize materials structured at the nanoscale to improve performance. The efficiencies of many of these devices depend on their thermal transport properties; whether a high or low conductivity is desirable, control over thermal transport is crucial to the continued development of device performance. Here we review recent experimental, computational, and theoretical studies that have highlighted potential methods for controlling phonon-mediated heat transfer. We discuss those parameters that affect thermal boundary conductance, such as interface morphology and material composition, as well as the emergent effects due to several interfaces in close proximity, as in a multilayered structure or superlattice. Furthermore, we explore future research directions as well as some of the challenges related to improving device thermal performance through the implementation of phonon engineering techniques.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Tuning of hBD achieved in experiments by roughness (Sec. 2.5), interdiffusion (Sec. 2.6), and defects (Sec. 2.7) at room temperature. In actual systems, each interface condition will be accompanied, to some extent, by the others. Thorough characterization of the interface is essential in experiments seeking to understand the effects of interface conditions on hBD.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Selected experimental reports of thermal conductivity in multilayers and superlattices as a function of temperature T. We list the period length of each system in nanometers. Theory predicts that incoherent transport should exhibit a plateau with rising T, while coherent transport should exhibit some inverse tendency due to mini-umklapp scattering at high T.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Experimental measurements of thermal conductivity in multilayers and superlattices as a function of period length L. All data are selected around 300 K. As a tuning parameter, L seems to allow control of k over a factor of up to 3 or 4. Data for cross comparison with Fig. 2 are available for Lee et al. [109], Capinski et al. [120], and Costescu et al. [122]. Theory predicts that a monotonic increase with L indicates incoherent transport, but a “minimum conductivity” at short periods indicates a transition to coherent transport.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Schematic diagram of a polyjunction. The material and thicknesses of the N layers are selected to tune the transport. For N=0, the original interface is recovered.



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