Heat Transfer Enhancement in Tree-Structured Polymer Linked Gold Nanoparticle Networks

XF Wei and R Hernandez, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY LETTERS, 14, 9834-9841 (2023).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.3c02367

Human brains use a tree-like neuron network for information processing at high efficiency and low energy consumption. Tree-like structures have also been engineered to enhance mass and heat transfer in various applications. In this work, we reveal the heat transfer mechanism in tree-structured polymer linked gold nanoparticle (AuNP) networks using atomistic simulations. We report both upward and downward heat fluxes between root and leaf nodes in tree-structured polyethylene (PE) and poly(p-phenylene) (PPP) linked AuNP networks at tree levels from 1 to 5. We found that the heat conductance increases with an increasing polymer tree level. The heat transfer enhancement is due to the resulting increase in the low-frequency vibrational modes. This and other thermal properties are affected by the location of the AuNPs in the tree. Moreover, complex tree structures with at least five levels were found to be robust in the sense that disabling half of the leaves did not change the overall heat conductance.

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