Experimental and theoretical investigations of thermal transport in graphene
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Graphene has been actively investigated because its unique structural, electronic, and thermal properties are desirable for a number of technological applications ranging from electronic to energy devices. The thermal transport properties of graphene can influence the device performances. Because of the high surface to volume ratio and confinement of phonons and electrons, the thermal transport properties of graphene can differ considerably from those in graphite. Developing a better understanding of thermal transport in graphene is necessary for rational design of graphene-based functional devices and materials. It is known that the thermal conductivity of single-layer graphene is considerably suppressed when it is in contact with an amorphous material compared to when it is suspended. However, the effects of substrate interaction in phonon transport in both single and multi-layer graphene still remains elusive. This work presents sensitive in-plane thermal transport measurements of few-layer and multi-layer graphene samples on amorphous silicon dioxide with the use of suspended micro-thermometer devices. It is shown that full recovery to the thermal conductivity of graphite has yet to occur even after the thickness of the supported multi-layer graphene sample is increased to 34 layers, which is considerably thicker than previously thought. This surprising finding is explained by the long intrinsic scattering mean free paths of phonons in graphite along both the basal-plane and cross-plane directions, as well as partially diffuse scattering of phonons by the graphene-amorphous support interface, which is treated by an interface scattering model developed for highly anisotropic materials. In addition, an experimental method is introduced to investigate electronic thermal transport in graphene and other layered materials through the measurement of longitudinal and transverse thermal and electrical conductivities and Seebeck coefficient under applied electric and magnetic fields. Moreover, this work includes an investigation of quantitative scanning thermal microscopy measurements of electrically biased graphene supported on a flexible polyimide substrate. Based on a triple scan technique and another zero heat flux measurement method, the temperature rise in flexible devices is found to be higher by more than one order of magnitude, and shows much more significant lateral heat spreading than graphene devices fabricated on silicon.
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