Graphene-based thermal modulators

XJ Liu and G Zhang and YW Zhang, NANO RESEARCH, 8, 2755-2762 (2015).

DOI: 10.1007/s12274-015-0782-2

The quest for materials and devices that are capable of controlling heat flux continues to fuel research on thermal controlling devices. In this letter, using molecular dynamics simulations, we demonstrate that a partially clamped single-layer graphene can serve as a thermal modulator. The mismatch in phonon dispersion between the unclamped and clamped graphene sections results in phonon interface scattering, and the strength of interface scattering is tunable by controlling the clamp-graphene distance via applying the external pressure. Owing to the ultra-thin structure of graphene and its highly sensitive phonon dispersion to external physical interaction, the modulation efficiency- which is defined as the ratio of the highest to lowest heat flux-can reach as high as 150% at a moderate pressure of 50 GPa. This modulation efficiency can be further enhanced by arranging a number of clamps in series along the direction of the heat flux.

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