Phonon Scattering Dynamics of Thermophoretic Motion in Carbon Nanotube Oscillators

MVD Prasad and B Bhattacharya, NANO LETTERS, 16, 2174-2180 (2016).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b04014

Using phonon wave packet molecular dynamics simulations, we find that anomalous longitudinal acoustic (LA) mode phonon scattering in low to moderate energy ranges is responsible for initiating thermophoretic motion in carbon nanotube oscillators. The repeated scattering of a single mode LA phonon wave packet near the ends of the inner nanotube provides a net unbalanced force that, if large enough, initiates thermophoresis. By applying a coherent phonon pulse on the outer tube, which generalizes the single mode phonon wave packet, we are able to achieve thermophoresis in a carbon nanotube oscillator. We also find the nature of the unbalanced force on end-atoms to be qualitatively similar to that under an imposed thermal gradient. The thermodiffusion coefficient obtained for a range of thermal gradients and core lengths suggest that LA phonon scattering is the dominant mechanism for thermophoresis in longer cores, whereas for shorter cores, it is the highly diffusive mechanism that provides the effective force.

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