Phonon-Interface Scattering in Multi-layered Graphene on an Amorphous Support


M. M. Sadeghi, Jo, I., and Shi, L., “Phonon-Interface Scattering in Multi-layered Graphene on an Amorphous Support,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 110, pp. 16321–16326, 2013.


The recent studies of thermal transport in suspended, supported, and encased graphene just began to uncover the richness of two-dimensional phonon physics, which is relevant to the performance and reliability of graphene-based functional materials and devices. Among the outstanding questions are the exact causes of the suppressed basal-plane thermal conductivity measured in graphene in contact with an amorphous material, and the layer thickness needed for supported or embedded multilayer graphene (MLG) to recover the high thermal conductivity of graphite. Here we use sensitive in-plane thermal transport measurements of graphene samples on amorphous silicon dioxide to show that full recovery to the thermal conductivity of the natural graphite source has yet to occur even after the MLG thickness is increased to 34 layers, considerably thicker than previously thought. This seemingly surprising finding is explained by long intrinsic scattering mean free paths of phonons in graphite along both basal-plane and cross-plane directions, as well as partially diffuse scattering of MLG phonons by the MLG-amorphous support interface, which is treated by an interface scattering model developed for highly anisotropic materials. Based on the phonon transmission coefficient calculated from reported experimental thermal interface conductance results, phonons emerging from the interface consist of a large component that is scattered across the interface, making rational choice of the support materials a potential approach to increasing the thermal conductivity of supported MLG.