Grain-size dependence and anisotropy of nanoscale thermal transport in MgO

S Fujii and K Funai and T Yokoi and M Yoshiya, APPLIED PHYSICS LETTERS, 119, 231604 (2021).

DOI: 10.1063/5.0075854

Controlling thermal conductivity in nanocrystalline materials is of great interest in various fields such as thermoelectrics. However, its reduction mechanism has not been fully given due to the difficulty to assess local thermal conduction at grain boundaries (GBs) and grain interiors. Here, we calculated spatially decomposed thermal conductivities across and along MgO symmetric GBs using perturbed molecular dynamics, varying the GB separation from 2.1 to 20.0 nm. This reveals the different length scale of GB scattering for two directions: over hundreds of nanometers across GBs while within a few nanometers along GBs. Numerical analyses based on the spatially decomposed thermal conductivities demonstrate that the former is dominant upon suppressing thermal conductivity in polycrystalline materials, whereas the latter has a non-negligible impact in nanocrystalline materials because of a large reduction of intragrain thermal conductivity along GBs. These insights provide the exact mechanisms of heat transport in nanocrystalline materials toward more precise control of thermal conductivity. (C) 2021 Author(s).

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