Navaneetha K. Ravichandran (Boston College)

When:
December 13, 2019 @ 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

Title: Microscopic view of heat conduction in solids

Abstract:
Microscopic quantum mechanical interactions among heat carriers called phonons govern the macroscopic thermal properties of semiconducting and electrically insulating crystalline solids, which find applications in thermal management of electronics, thermal barrier coatings and thermoelectric modules. In this talk, I will describe my recent work on how our newly developed first-principles computational framework to predict these microscopic interactions among phonons unveils a new paradigm for heat conduction in several of these materials. As an example, I will describe a curious case of heat conduction in boron arsenide (BAs), where the lowest order interactions involving three phonons are unusually weak and higher-order scattering among four phonons affects the thermal conductivity significantly, in stark contrast with several other semiconductors such as silicon and diamond [1]. I will show that this competition between three and four phonon scattering can be exquisitely tuned with the application of hydrostatic pressure, resulting in an unusual non-monotonic pressure dependence of the thermal conductivity in BAs unlike in most other materials [2]. I will also briefly describe my prior experimental effort to probe the scattering of phonons at atomically rough surfaces of a nanoscale silicon film, where they showed extreme sensitivity to the changes in surface roughness of just a few atomic planes [3].

[1] Fei Tian, Bai Song, Xi Chen, Navaneetha K. Ravichandran et al., Science 361 (6402), 582-585, 2018
[2] Navaneetha K. Ravichandran & David Broido, Nature Communications 10 (827), 2019
[3] Navaneetha K. Ravichandran, Hang Zhang & Austin Minnich, Physical Review X 8 (4), 041004, 2018

 

host: Phil

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