Role of thermalizing and nonthermalizing walls in phonon heat conduction along thin films

Abstract

Phonon boundary scattering is typically treated using the Fuchs-Sondheimer theory, which assumes that phonons are thermalized to the local temperature at the boundary. However, whether such a thermalization process actually occurs and its effect on thermal transport remains unclear. Here we examine thermal transport along thin films with both thermalizing and nonthermalizing walls by solving the spectral Boltzmann transport equation for steady state and transient transport. We find that in steady state, the thermal transport is governed by the Fuchs-Sondheimer theory and is insensitive to whether the boundaries are thermalizing or not. In contrast, under transient conditions, the thermal decay rates are significantly different for thermalizing and nonthermalizing walls. We also show that, for transient transport, the thermalizing boundary condition is unphysical due to violation of heat flux conservation at the boundaries. Our results provide insights into the boundary scattering process of thermal phonons over a range of heating length scales that are useful for interpreting thermal measurements on nanostructures.

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Ravichandran2016RoleOT, title={Role of thermalizing and nonthermalizing walls in phonon heat conduction along thin films}, author={Navaneetha K. Ravichandran and Austin J. Minnich}, year={2016} }