Thermal and Electrical Transport Study of One Dimensional Nanomaterials
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This dissertation presents experimental and computational study of thermal and electrical transport in one-dimensional nanostructures. Synthesizing materials into one-dimensional nanowire has been proved very effective for suppressing the phonon contribution due to scattering at the wire boundaries. Three one-dimensional nanostructured thermoelectric candidates - SiGe nanowires, SrTiO3 nanowires, and ZnO nanowires – were presented and discussed in this dissertation. SiGe nanowires are successfully synthesized on a cleaned n-type (100) Si substrate coated with gold thin film as a catalytic metal, via the vapor-liquid-solid (VLS) growth method. The thermoelectric properties of SiGe nanowires with different diameter, Ge concentration, and phosphorus doping concentration were measured using a MEMS micro-device consisting of two suspended silicon nitride membranes in the temperature range of 60 K ~450 K. The experimental results were obtained by “simultaneously” measuring thermal conductivity, electrical conductivity, and thermopower. The ZT improvement is attributed to remarkable thermal conductivity reductions, which are thought to derive from the effective scattering of a broad range of phonons by alloying Si with Ge as well as by limiting phonon transport within the nanowire diameters. An improved model based on Boltzmann transport equation with relaxation time approximation was introduced for estimating thermoelectric properties of phosphorus heavily doped SiGe nanowires from 300 to 1200 K. All the electron and phonon scatterings were comprehensively discussed and utilized to develop the new model for estimating electrical conductivity, thermopower, and thermal conductivity of SiGe nanowires. As thermoelectric materials, oxide nanowires have great advantages comparing to other semiconductors. Two nanostructured materials, SrTiO3 nanotubes and ZnO nanowires, are introduced and successfully synthesized by simple methods. Thermal conductivity of ZnO nanowires with different diameter were characterized from 60 K to 450 K. In order to measure thermoelectric properties of one-dimensional nanostructures at temperature up to 800 K, a new temperature vacuum system was carefully designed and built from scratch. The thermal conductivity of ZnO nanowires with different diameters at high temperature were measured from 300 K to 800 K.
Yin, Liang (2013). Thermal and Electrical Transport Study of One Dimensional Nanomaterials. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from