The best nanoparticle size distribution for minimum thermal conductivity.
ABSTRACT: Which sizes of nanoparticles embedded in a crystalline solid yield the lowest thermal conductivity? Nanoparticles have long been demonstrated to reduce the thermal conductivity of crystals by scattering phonons, but most previous works assumed the nanoparticles to have a single size. Here, we use optimization methods to show that the best nanoparticle size distribution to scatter the broad thermal phonon spectrum is not a similarly broad distribution but rather several discrete peaks at well-chosen nanoparticle radii. For SiGe, the best size distribution yields a thermal conductivity below that of amorphous silicon. Further, we demonstrate that a simplified distribution yields nearly the same low thermal conductivity and can be readily fabricated. Our work provides important insights into how to manipulate the full spectrum of phonons and will guide the design of more efficient thermoelectric materials.
Project description:Thermal conductivity measurements over variable lengths on nanostructures such as nanowires provide important information about the mean free paths (MFPs) of the phonons responsible for heat conduction. However, nearly all of these measurements have been interpreted using an average MFP even though phonons in many crystals possess a broad MFP spectrum. Here, we present a reconstruction method to obtain MFP spectra of nanostructures from variable-length thermal conductivity measurements. Using this method, we investigate recently reported length-dependent thermal conductivity measurements on SiGe alloy nanowires and suspended graphene ribbons. We find that the recent measurements on graphene imply that 70% of the heat in graphene is carried by phonons with MFPs longer than 1 micron.
Project description:Thermoelectrics, which convert waste heat to electricity, offer an attractive pathway for addressing an important niche in the globally growing landscape of energy demand. Research to date has focused on reducing the thermal conductivity relative to the bulk. Si nanowires (NWs) have received exceptional attention due to their low-dimensionality, abundance of availability, and high carrier mobility. From thermal transport point of view, the thermal conductivity of Si NWs strongly depends on the detailed surface structure, such as roughness and surface orientation. Here, direct molecular dynamics simulations and theoretical models are used to investigate the thermal transport in Si NWs with diverse surface orientations. Our results show that the thermal conductivity of Si NWs with different surface orientation can differ by as large as 2.7~4.2 times, which suggests a new route to boost the thermoelectric performance. Using the full spectrum theory, we find that the surface orientation, which alters the distribution of atoms on the surface and determines the degree of phonon coupling between the core and the surface, is the dominant mechanism. Furthermore, using spectral thermal conductivity, the remarkable difference in the thermal conductivity for different surface orientation is found to only stem from the phonons in the medium frequency range, with minor contribution from low and high frequency phonons.
Project description:A fundamental understanding of phonon transport in stanene is crucial to predict the thermal performance in potential stanene-based devices. By combining first-principle calculation and phonon Boltzmann transport equation, we obtain the lattice thermal conductivity of stanene. A much lower thermal conductivity (11.6 W/mK) is observed in stanene, which indicates higher thermoelectric efficiency over other 2D materials. The contributions of acoustic and optical phonons to the lattice thermal conductivity are evaluated. Detailed analysis of phase space for three-phonon processes shows that phonon scattering channels LA + LA/TA/ZA ↔ TA/ZA are restricted, leading to the dominant contributions of high-group-velocity LA phonons to the thermal conductivity. The size dependence of thermal conductivity is investigated as well for the purpose of the design of thermoelectric nanostructures.
Project description:By using first-principles calculations combined with the phonon Boltzmann transport equation, we systematically investigate the phonon transport of monolayer WSe2. Compared with other 2D materials, the monolayer WSe2 is found to have an ultralow thermal conductivity due to the ultralow Debye frequency and heavy atom mass. The room temperature thermal conductivity for a typical sample size of 1 μm is 3.935 W/m K, which is one order of magnitude lower than that of MoS2. And the room temperature thermal conductivity can be further decreased by about 95% in 10 nm sized samples. Moreover, we also find the ZA phonons have the dominant contribution to the thermal conductivity, and the relative contribution is almost 80% at room temperature, which is remarkably higher than that for monolayer MoS2. This is because the ZA phonons have longer lifetime than that of LA and TA phonons in monolayer WSe2.
Project description:Thermal conductivity in non-metallic crystalline materials results from cumulative contributions of phonons that have a broad range of mean free paths. Here we use high frequency surface temperature modulation that generates non-diffusive phonon transport to probe the phonon mean free path spectra of GaAs, GaN, AlN, and 4H-SiC at temperatures near 80?K, 150?K, 300?K, and 400?K. We find that phonons with MFPs greater than 230 ± 120?nm, 1000 ± 200?nm, 2500 ± 800?nm, and 4200 ± 850?nm contribute 50% of the bulk thermal conductivity of GaAs, GaN, AlN, and 4H-SiC near room temperature. By non-dimensionalizing the data based on Umklapp scattering rates of phonons, we identified a universal phonon mean free path spectrum in small unit cell crystalline semiconductors at high temperature.
Project description:Understanding thermal transport from nanoscale heat sources is important for a fundamental description of energy flow in materials, as well as for many technological applications including thermal management in nanoelectronics and optoelectronics, thermoelectric devices, nanoenhanced photovoltaics, and nanoparticle-mediated thermal therapies. Thermal transport at the nanoscale is fundamentally different from that at the macroscale and is determined by the distribution of carrier mean free paths and energy dispersion in a material, the length scales of the heat sources, and the distance over which heat is transported. Past work has shown that Fourier's law for heat conduction dramatically overpredicts the rate of heat dissipation from heat sources with dimensions smaller than the mean free path of the dominant heat-carrying phonons. In this work, we uncover a new regime of nanoscale thermal transport that dominates when the separation between nanoscale heat sources is small compared with the dominant phonon mean free paths. Surprisingly, the interaction of phonons originating from neighboring heat sources enables more efficient diffusive-like heat dissipation, even from nanoscale heat sources much smaller than the dominant phonon mean free paths. This finding suggests that thermal management in nanoscale systems including integrated circuits might not be as challenging as previously projected. Finally, we demonstrate a unique capability to extract differential conductivity as a function of phonon mean free path in materials, allowing the first (to our knowledge) experimental validation of predictions from the recently developed first-principles calculations.
Project description:The current work reports the thermophysical and flow measurements of novel thermal solvents based on deep eutectic solvents (DESs) and alumina-based nanoparticle-dispersed deep eutectic solvents (NDDESs) for its use as a potential solar energy storage medium. The DESs were synthesized using a hydrogen bond donor (i.e., oleic acid) and a hydrogen bond acceptor (i.e., dl-menthol) by using the COSMO-SAC-predicted equimolar ratio at a temperature of 350.15 K. Thereafter, NDDESs or nanofluids were formed by dispersing different volume fractions (0.001, 0.005, 0.0075, and 0.01) of Al2O3 nanoparticles in the DESs. The optimum volume fraction (0.005) of Al2O3 nanoparticles was selected through their thermophysical properties (density, viscosity, thermal conductivity, and specific heat capacity) and its agglomeration or stability behavior. As expected, NDDESs with a 0.005 volume fraction gave a higher enhancement in thermal conductivity, viscosity, heat capacity, and density as compared to DESs. To evaluate the heat transfer coefficient, forced convection experiments were conducted in a circular test section for both DESs and NDDESs under laminar conditions (Re = 124, 186, and 250). The enhancement of the local heat transfer coefficient was found to be higher when compared to their thermophysical properties. This was due to the nanoparticle migration resulting in a non-uniform distribution of both thermal conductivity and viscosity fields, which was inherently found to reduce the thermal boundary layer thickness. In the final section, the heat transfer coefficient and the Nusselt number were also validated with COMSOL Multiphysics simulations.
Project description:In order to study the effects of alkyl chain on the thermal properties of fullerene derivatives, we perform molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to predict the thermal conductivity of fullerene (C60) and its derivative phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM). The results of non-equilibrium MD simulations show a length-dependent thermal conductivity for C60 but not for PCBM. The thermal conductivity of C60, obtained from the linear extrapolation of inverse conductivity vs. inverse length curve, is 0.2 W m(-1) K(-1) at room temperature, while the thermal conductivity of PCBM saturates at ~0.075 W m(-1) K(-1) around 20 nm. The different length-dependence behavior of thermal conductivity indicates that the long-wavelength and low-frequency phonons have large contribution to the thermal conduction in C60. The decrease in thermal conductivity of fullerene derivatives can be attributed to the reduction in group velocities, the decrease of the frequency range of acoustic phonons, and the strong scattering of low-frequency phonons with the alkyl chains due to the significant mismatch of vibrational density of states in low frequency regime between buckyball and alkyl chains in PCBM.
Project description:Individual luminescent nanoparticles enable thermometry with sub-diffraction limited spatial resolution, but potential self-heating effects from high single-particle excitation intensities remain largely uninvestigated because thermal models predict negligible self-heating. Here, we report that the common "ratiometric" thermometry signal of individual NaYF<sub>4</sub>:Yb<sup>3+</sup>,Er<sup>3+</sup> nanoparticles unexpectedly increases with excitation intensity, implying a temperature rise over 50?K if interpreted as thermal. Luminescence lifetime thermometry, which we demonstrate for the first time using individual NaYF<sub>4</sub>:Yb<sup>3+</sup>,Er<sup>3+</sup> nanoparticles, indicates a similar temperature rise. To resolve this apparent contradiction between model and experiment, we systematically vary the nanoparticle's thermal environment: the substrate thermal conductivity, nanoparticle-substrate contact resistance, and nanoparticle size. The apparent self-heating remains unchanged, demonstrating that this effect is an artifact, not a real temperature rise. Using rate equation modeling, we show that this artifact results from increased radiative and non-radiative relaxation from higher-lying Er<sup>3+</sup> energy levels. This study has important implications for single-particle thermometry.
Project description:Polymer composites with high thermal conductivity have recently attracted much attention, along with the rapid development of the electronic devices toward higher speed and performance. However, a common method to enhance polymer thermal conductivity through an addition of high thermally conductive fillers usually cannot provide an expected value, especially for composites requiring electrical insulation. Here, we show that polymeric composites with silver nanoparticle-deposited boron nitride nanosheets as fillers could effectively enhance the thermal conductivity of polymer, thanks to the bridging connections of silver nanoparticles among boron nitride nanosheets. The thermal conductivity of the composite is significantly increased from 1.63?W/m-K for the composite filled with the silver nanoparticle-deposited boron nitride nanosheets to 3.06?W/m-K at the boron nitride nanosheets loading of 25.1 vol %. In addition, the electrically insulating properties of the composite are well preserved. Fitting the measured thermal conductivity of epoxy composite with one physical model indicates that the composite with silver nanoparticle-deposited boron nitride nanosheets outperforms the one with boron nitride nanosheets, owning to the lower thermal contact resistance among boron nitride nanosheets' interfaces. The finding sheds new light on enhancement of thermal conductivity of the polymeric composites which concurrently require the electrical insulation.