Thermal properties of graphene and nanostructured carbon materials

Nat Mater. 2011 Jul 22;10(8):569-81. doi: 10.1038/nmat3064.


Recent years have seen a rapid growth of interest by the scientific and engineering communities in the thermal properties of materials. Heat removal has become a crucial issue for continuing progress in the electronic industry, and thermal conduction in low-dimensional structures has revealed truly intriguing features. Carbon allotropes and their derivatives occupy a unique place in terms of their ability to conduct heat. The room-temperature thermal conductivity of carbon materials span an extraordinary large range--of over five orders of magnitude--from the lowest in amorphous carbons to the highest in graphene and carbon nanotubes. Here, I review the thermal properties of carbon materials focusing on recent results for graphene, carbon nanotubes and nanostructured carbon materials with different degrees of disorder. Special attention is given to the unusual size dependence of heat conduction in two-dimensional crystals and, specifically, in graphene. I also describe the prospects of applications of graphene and carbon materials for thermal management of electronics.