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Thermal Transport at Nanoscale

Although current transport in materials and devices have attracted researchers ever since the discovery of electrons and quantum mechanics; thermal transport or the phonon conduction in materials have not been traditionally generated that much interest. It's only recently after the advances of nano-science, thermal transport has taken center stage in addressing many of our basic scientific and technological questions. Thermal transport in nanoscale systems are fundamentally different than the bulk materials as the Furier's law of heat condution can not be used to explain transport behavior in nanoscale objects. Understanding the thermal transport in dissimilar materials and at their interfaces also is a formidibly challenging endeviour.

In our research, we try to understand phonon transport in superlattices, in particular we address the question "how the interfaces in superlattice effect the heat conduction". The test system to address these fundamental questions is again our (Zr,Hf)N/(Sc,Y)N and (Ti,W)N/(Al,Sc)N superlattices. We have extensive first-principles based modelling results of thermal transport in these superlattices and our current effort is to understand these experimentally.



1. First-principles analysis of thermoelectric ZrN/ScN metal/semiconductor superlattices. Bivas Saha, Timothy D. Sands and Umesh V. Waghmare. Journal of Applied Physics 109, 073720 (2011).

2. Electronic Structure, Vibrational spectra and Thermal Properties of HfN/ScN Metal/semiconductor superlattices:  A first-principles Study: Bivas Saha, Timothy D. Sands and Umesh V. Waghmare. Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, 24 415303, (2012).

3. Understanding heat conduction in TiN/(Al,Sc)N superlattices. Bivas Saha, Joseph Feser, David Cahill, and Timothy D. Sands. (Under Preparation).

Collaborators: Joe Feser (UIUC), David Cahil (UIUC), Tim Fisher (Purdue).