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Simulation of Dimensionality Effects in Thermal Transport


The discovery of nanostructures and the development of growth and fabrication techniques of one- and two-dimensional materials provide the possibility to probe experimentally heat transport in low-dimensional systems. Nevertheless measuring the thermal conductivity of these systems is extremely challenging and subject to large uncertainties, thus hindering the chance for a direct comparison between experiments and statistical physics models. Atomistic simulations of realistic nanostructures provide the ideal bridge between abstract models and experiments. After briefly introducing the state of the art of heat transport measurement in nanostructures, and numerical techniques to simulate realistic systems at atomistic level, we review the contribution of lattice dynamics and molecular dynamics simulation to understanding nanoscale thermal transport in systems with reduced dimensionality. We focus on the effect of dimensionality in determining the phononic properties of carbon and semiconducting nanostructures, specifically considering the cases of carbon nanotubes, graphene and of silicon nanowires and ultra-thin membranes, underlying analogies and differences with abstract lattice models.

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