Quasi 2D Materials: Raman Nanometrology and Thermal Management Applications
Quasi two-dimensional (2D) materials obtained by the "graphene-like" exfoliation attracted tremendous attention. Such materials revealed unique electronic, thermal and optical properties, which can be potentially used in electronics, thermal management and energy conversion. This dissertation research addresses two separate but synergetic problems: (i) preparation and optical characterization of quasi-2D films of the bismuth-telluride (Bi2Te3) family of materials, which demonstrate both thermoelectric and topological insulator properties; and (ii) investigation of thermal properties of composite materials prepared with graphene and few-layer graphene (FLG). The first part of dissertation reports properties of the exfoliated few-quintuple layers of Bi2Te3, Bi2Se3 and Sb2Te3. Both non-resonant and resonant Raman scattering spectra have been investigated. It was found that the crystal symmetry breaking in few-quintuple films results in appearance of A1u-symmetry Raman peaks, which are not active in the bulk crystals. The scattering spectra measured under the 633-nm wavelength excitation reveals a number of resonant features, which could be used for analysis of the electronic and phonon processes in these materials. The obtained results help to understand the physical mechanisms of Raman scattering in the few-quintuple-thick films and can be used for nanometrology of topological insulator films on various substrates. The second part of the dissertation is dedicated to investigation of properties of composite materials prepared with graphene and FLG. It was found that the optimized mixture of graphene and multilayer graphene - produced by the high-yield inexpensive liquid-phase-exfoliation technique - can lead to an extremely strong enhancement of the cross-plane thermal conductivity K of the composite. The "laser flash" measurements revealed a record-high enhancement of K by 2300 % in the graphene-based polymer at the filler loading fraction f =10 vol. %. It was determined that the relatively high concentration of the single-layer and bilayer graphene flakes (~10-15%) present simultaneously with the thicker multilayers of large lateral size (~ 1 m) were essential for the observed unusual K enhancement. Our modeling results suggest that graphene - multilayer graphene nanocomposite used as the thermal interface material outperforms those with carbon nanotubes or metal nanoparticles owing to graphene's aspect ratio and lower Kapitza resistance at the graphene - matrix interface.