Role of anharmonic phonon scattering in the spectrally decomposed thermal conductance at planar interfaces

K Saaskilahti and J Oksanen and J Tulkki and S Volz, PHYSICAL REVIEW B, 90, 134312 (2014).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.90.134312

A detailed understanding of the vibrational heat transfer mechanisms between solids is essential for the efficient thermal engineering and control of nanomaterials. We investigate the frequency dependence of anharmonic scattering and interfacial thermal conduction between two acoustically mismatched solids in planar contact by calculating the spectral decomposition of the heat current flowing through an interface between two materials. The calculations are based on analyzing the correlations of atomic vibrations using the data extracted from nonequilibrium molecular dynamics simulations. Inelastic effects arising from anharmonic interactions are shown to significantly facilitate heat transfer between two mass-mismatched face-centered-cubic lattices even at frequencies exceeding the cutoff frequency of the heavier material due to (i) enhanced dissipation of evanescent vibrational modes and (ii) frequency-doubling and frequency-halving three-phonon energy transfer processes at the interface. The results provide substantial insight into interfacial energy transfer mechanisms, especially at high temperatures, where inelastic effects become important and other computational methods are ineffective.

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