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Issue 26, 2013
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Molecular dynamics studies of material property effects on thermal boundary conductance

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Abstract

Thermal boundary resistance (inverse of conductance) between different material layers can dominate the overall thermal resistance in nanostructures and therefore impact the performance of the thermal property limiting nano devices. Because relationships between material properties and thermal boundary conductance have not been fully understood, optimum devices cannot be developed through a rational selection of materials. Here we develop generic interatomic potentials to enable material properties to be continuously varied in extremely large molecular dynamics simulations to explore the dependence of thermal boundary conductance on the characteristic properties of materials such as atomic mass, stiffness, and interfacial crystallography. To ensure that our study is not biased to a particular model, we employ different types of interatomic potentials. In particular, both a Stillinger–Weber potential and a hybrid embedded-atom-method + Stillinger–Weber potential are used to study metal-on-semiconductor compound interfaces, and the results are analyzed considering previous work based upon a Lennard-Jones (LJ) potential. These studies, therefore, reliably provide new understanding of interfacial transport phenomena particularly in terms of effects of material properties on thermal boundary conductance. Our most important finding is that thermal boundary conductance increases with the overlap of the vibrational spectra between metal modes and the acoustic modes of the semiconductor compound, and increasing the metal stiffness causes a continuous shift of the metal modes. As a result, the maximum thermal boundary conductance occurs at an intermediate metal stiffness (best matched to the semiconductor stiffness) that maximizes the overlap of the vibrational modes.

Graphical abstract: Molecular dynamics studies of material property effects on thermal boundary conductance

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Publication details

The article was received on 14 Mar 2013, accepted on 13 May 2013 and first published on 17 May 2013


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3CP51131F
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2013,15, 11078-11087
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    Molecular dynamics studies of material property effects on thermal boundary conductance

    X. W. Zhou, R. E. Jones, J. C. Duda and P. E. Hopkins, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2013, 15, 11078
    DOI: 10.1039/C3CP51131F

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