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Thermal Conduction in Graphene and Graphene Multilayers

  • Author(s): Ghosh, Suchismita;
  • Advisor(s): Balandin, Alexander A;
  • et al.

There has been increasing interest in thermal conductivity of materials motivated by the heat removal issues in electronics and by the need of fundamental science to understand heat conduction at nanoscale. This dissertation reports the results of the experimental investigation of heat conduction in graphene and graphene multilayers. Graphene is a planar single sheet of sp2–bonded carbon atoms arranged in honeycomb lattice. It reveals many unique properties, including the extraordinarily high carrier mobility. In order to measure the thermal conductivity of graphene we developed an original non–contact technique based on micro–Raman spectroscopy. The samples for this study were prepared by mechanical exfoliation and suspended across trenches in Si/SiO2 substrates. The number of atomic planes was determined by deconvolution of the Raman 2D band. The suspended graphene flakes attached to the heat sinks were heated by the laser light focused in the middle. The Raman G peak’s temperature sensitivity allowed us to monitor the local temperature change produced by the variation of the excitation laser power. A special calibration procedure was developed to determine the fraction of power absorbed by graphene. Our measurements revealed that single–layer graphene has an extremely high room-temperature thermal conductivity in the range 3800 – 5300 W/mK depending on the flake size and quality. It was also found that most of the heat near room temperature is transferred by acoustic phonons rather than electrons. Theoretical studies of the phonon thermal conduction in graphene, which included detail treatment of the Umklapp scattering, are in agreement with our experiments. The measurements were also extended to few–layer graphene. It was shown that the thermal conductivity reduces with the increasing number of layers approaching the bulk graphite limit. To validate the measurement technique we investigated the thermal conductivity of the polycrystalline graphene films and reduced graphene oxide films deposited on polyethylene terephthalate substrates. In this case we obtained much smaller values of thermal conductivity, which was explained by the strong acoustic phonon scattering on the grain boundaries. Obtained results are important for electronic applications of graphene and may lead to new methods of thermal management of nanoelectronic chips.

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