Thermal conductivity of silicene calculated using an optimized Stillinger-Weber potential

XL Zhang and H Xie and M Hu and H Bao and SY Yue and GZ Qin and G Su, PHYSICAL REVIEW B, 89, 054310 (2014).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.89.054310

Silicene, the silicon-based counterpart of graphene with a two- dimensional honeycomb lattice, has attracted tremendous interest both theoretically and experimentally due to its significant potential industrial applications. From the aspect of theoretical study, the widely used classical molecular dynamics simulation is an appropriate way to investigate the transport phenomena and mechanisms in nanostructures such as silicene. Unfortunately, no available interatomic potential can precisely characterize the unique features of silicene. Here, we optimized the Stillinger-Weber potential parameters specifically for a single-layer Si sheet, which can accurately reproduce the low buckling structure of silicene and the full phonon dispersion curves obtained from ab initio calculations. By performing equilibrium and nonequilibrium molecular dynamics simulations and anharmonic lattice dynamics calculations with the new potential, we reveal that the three methods consistently yield an extremely low thermal conductivity of silicene and a short phonon mean-free path, suggesting silicene as a potential candidate for high-efficiency thermoelectric materials. Moreover, by qualifying the relative contributions of lattice vibrations in different directions, we found that the longitudinal phonon modes dominate the thermal transport in silicene, which is fundamentally different from graphene, despite the similarity of their two-dimensional honeycomb lattices.

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