Thursday, June 10, 2010

Paper watch: Precise control of thermal conductivity at the nanoscale through individual phonon-scattering barriers

Seen at this German-language post at nanowerk, an interesting paper at Nature Materials: "Precise control of thermal conductivity at the nanoscale through individual phonon-scattering barriers". The abstract reads:
The ability to precisely control the thermal conductivity (κ) of a material is fundamental in the development of on-chip heat management or energy conversion applications. Nanostructuring permits a marked reduction of κ of single-crystalline materials, as recently demonstrated for silicon nanowires. However, silicon-based nanostructured materials with extremely low κ are not limited to nanowires. By engineering a set of individual phonon-scattering nanodot barriers we have accurately tailored the thermal conductivity of a single-crystalline SiGe material in spatially defined regions as short as ∼15 nm. Single-barrier thermal resistances between 2 and 4×10−9 m2 K W−1 were attained, resulting in a room-temperature κ down to about 0.9 W m−1 K−1, in multilayered structures with as little as five barriers. Such low thermal conductivity is compatible with a totally diffuse mismatch model for the barriers, and it is well below the amorphous limit. The results are in agreement with atomistic Green’s function simulations.

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