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Thermal Conductivity Spectroscopy Technique to Measure Phonon Mean Free Paths

A. J. Minnich, J. A. Johnson, A. J. Schmidt, K. Esfarjani, M. S. Dresselhaus, K. A. Nelson, and G. Chen
Phys. Rev. Lett. 107, 095901 – Published 25 August 2011


Size effects in heat conduction, which occur when phonon mean free paths (MFPs) are comparable to characteristic lengths, are being extensively explored in many nanoscale systems for energy applications. Knowledge of MFPs is essential to understanding size effects, yet MFPs are largely unknown for most materials. Here, we introduce the first experimental technique which can measure MFP distributions over a wide range of length scales and materials. Using this technique, we measure the MFP distribution of silicon for the first time and obtain good agreement with first-principles calculations.

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  • Received 31 May 2011


© 2011 American Physical Society

Authors & Affiliations

A. J. Minnich1, J. A. Johnson2, A. J. Schmidt3, K. Esfarjani1, M. S. Dresselhaus4, K. A. Nelson2, and G. Chen1,*

  • 1Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA
  • 2Department of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA
  • 3Department of Mechanical Engineering, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA
  • 4Department of Electrical Engineering and Department of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA

  • *gchen2@mit.edu

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Vol. 107, Iss. 9 — 26 August 2011

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