Effects of lithium insertion on thermal conductivity of silicon nanowires

W Xu and G Zhang and BW Li, APPLIED PHYSICS LETTERS, 106, 173901 (2015).

DOI: 10.1063/1.4919587

Recently, silicon nanowires (SiNWs) have been applied as high- performance Li battery anodes, since they can overcome the pulverization and mechanical fracture during lithiation. Although thermal stability is one of the most important parameters that determine safety of Li batteries, thermal conductivity of SiNWs with Li insertion remains unclear. In this letter, using molecular dynamics simulations, we study room temperature thermal conductivity of SiNWs with Li insertion. It is found that compared with the pristine SiNW, there is as much as 60% reduction in thermal conductivity with 10% concentration of inserted Li atoms, while under the same impurity concentration the reduction in thermal conductivity of the mass-disordered SiNW is only 30%. With lattice dynamics calculations and normal mode decomposition, it is revealed that the phonon lifetimes in SiNWs decrease greatly due to strong scattering of phonons by vibrational modes of Li atoms, especially for those high frequency phonons. The observed strong phonon scattering phenomenon in Li-inserted SiNWs is similar to the phonon rattling effect. Our study serves as an exploration of thermal properties of SiNWs as Li battery anodes or weakly coupled with impurity atoms. (C) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC.

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