Temperature-dependent thermal and electrical conduction in metallic nanostructures

Cheng, Zhe
Major Professor
Xinwei Wang
Committee Member
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Mechanical Engineering
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Mechanical Engineering

In this work, temperature dependent electrical and thermal conduction in the bio-supported 3.2 nm-thin Ir nanofilm and individual silver nanowire are studied at reduced temperatures. For the Ir film, by studying the temperature-dependent behavior (300 K down to 43 K) of electron thermal conductivity (), we quantify the extremely confined defect-electron scatterings and isolate the intrinsic phonon-electron scattering that is shared by the bulk Ir. At low temperatures below 50 K,  of the film has almost two orders of magnitude reduction from that of bulk Ir. The film has ∂/∂T>0 while the bulk Ir has ∂/∂T <0. We introduce a unified thermal resistivity (=T/) to interpret these completely different ~T relations. It is found that the film and the bulk Ir share a very similar ~T trend while they have a different residual part (Θ0) at 0 K limit: 0~0 for the bulk Ir, and 0=5.5 mK2/W for the film. The Ir film and the bulk Ir have very close ∂Θ/∂T (75 to 290 K): 6.33×10-3 mK/W for the film and 7.62×10-3 mK/W for the bulk Ir. This strongly confirms the similar phonon-electron scattering in them. The temperature dependent behavior of the Lorenz number of the Ir film is also reported down to 10 K. Due to the strong defect-electron scattering, a very large residual electrical resistivity (1.2410-7 ·m) is observed for the film that dominates the overall electron transport (1.24~1.5510-7 ·m). The Debye temperature (221 K) of the film is found much smaller than that of bulk (308 K). This phonon softening strongly confirms the extensive surface and grain boundary electron scatterings. We find the Wiedemann-Franz Law still applies to our film even at low temperatures. The overall Lorenz number and that of imperfect structure (~2.25×10-8 W·Ω/K2) are close to the Sommerfeld value and shows little temperature dependence. This is contrast to other studied low dimensional metallic structures that have a much larger Lorenz number (3~7×10-8 W·Ω/K2). Electron tunneling and hopping in the biomaterial substrate are speculated responsible for the observed Lorenz number.

Additionally, the thermal and electrical transport in an individual silver nanowire is characterized down to 35 K for in-depth understanding of the strong structural defect induced electron scattering. The results indicate that, at room temperature, the electrical resistivity increases by around 4 folds from that of bulk silver. The Debye temperature (151 K) of the silver nanowire is found 36% lower than that (235 K) of bulk silver, confirming strong phonon softening. At room temperature, the thermal conductivity is reduced by 55% from that of bulk silver. This reduction becomes larger as the temperature goes down. A large residual  is observed for silver nanowire while that of the bulk silver is almost zero. The same ~T trend proposes that the silver nanowire and bulk silver share the similar phonon-electron scattering mechanism for thermal transport. Due to phonon-assisted electron energy transfer across grain boundaries, the Lorenz number of the silver nanowire is found much larger than that of bulk silver and decreases with decreasing temperature.