Direct Observation of Heat Dissipation in Individual Suspended Carbon Nanotubes Using a Two-Laser Technique


I. K. Hsu, Pettes, M. T., Aykolc, M., Chang, C. C., Hung, W. H., Theiss, J., Shi, L., and Cronin, S. B., “Direct Observation of Heat Dissipation in Individual Suspended Carbon Nanotubes Using a Two-Laser Technique,” Journal of Applied Physics, vol. 110, pp. 044328, 2011.


A two-laser technique is used to investigate heat spreading along individual single walled carbon nanotube(SWCNT) bundles in vacuum and air environments. A 532 nm laser focused on the center of a suspended SWCNT bundle is used as a local heat source, and a 633 nm laser is used to measure the spatial temperature profile along the SWCNT bundle by monitoring the G band downshifts in the Raman spectra. A constant temperature gradient is observed when the SWCNT bundle is irradiated in vacuum, giving direct evidence of diffusive transport of the phonons probed by the Raman laser. In air, however, we observe an exponentially decaying temperature profile with a decay length of about 7 μm, due to heat dissipation from the SWCNT bundle to the surrounding gas molecules. The thermal conductivity of the suspended carbon nanotube(CNT) is determined from its electrical heatingtemperature profile as measured in vacuum and the nanotube bundle diameter measured via transmission electron microscopy. Based on the exponential decay curves measured in three different CNTs in air, the heat transfer coefficient between the SWCNTs and the surrounding air molecules is found to range from 1.5 × 103 to 7.9 × 104 W/m2 K, which is smaller than the 1 × 105 W/m2 K thermal boundary conductance value calculated using the kinetic theory of gases. This measurement is insensitive to the thermal contact resistance, as no temperature drops occur at the ends of the nanotube. It is also insensitive to errors in the calibration of the G band temperature coefficient. The optical absorption is also obtained from these results and is on the order of 10−5.