A universal gauge for thermal conductivity of silicon nanowires with different cross sectional geometries

J Chem Phys. 2011 Nov 28;135(20):204705. doi: 10.1063/1.3663386.

Abstract

By using molecular dynamics simulations, we study thermal conductivity of silicon nanowires (SiNWs) with different cross sectional geometries. It is found that thermal conductivity decreases monotonically with the increase of surface-to-volume ratio (SVR). More interestingly, a simple universal linear dependence of thermal conductivity on SVR is observed for SiNWs with modest cross sectional area (larger than 20 nm(2)), regardless of the cross sectional geometry. As a result, among different shaped SiNWs with the same cross sectional area, the one with triangular cross section has the lowest thermal conductivity. Our study provides not only a universal gauge for thermal conductivity among different cross sectional geometries, but also a designing guidance to tune thermal conductivity by geometry.