Enhanced and switchable nanoscale thermal conduction due to van der Waals interfaces

Nat Nanotechnol. 2011 Dec 11;7(2):91-5. doi: 10.1038/nnano.2011.216.


Understanding thermal transport in nanostructured materials is important for the development of energy conversion applications and the thermal management of microelectronic and optoelectronic devices. Most nanostructures interact through van der Waals interactions, and these interactions typically lead to a reduction in thermal transport. Here, we show that the thermal conductivity of a bundle of boron nanoribbons can be significantly higher than that of a single free-standing nanoribbon. Moreover, the thermal conductivity of the bundle can be switched between the enhanced values and that of a single nanoribbon by wetting the van der Waals interface between the nanoribbons with various solutions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Boron Compounds / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission / methods
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*
  • Nanotechnology / trends*
  • Nanotubes, Carbon / chemistry
  • Software
  • Thermal Conductivity*
  • Thermodynamics


  • Boron Compounds
  • Nanotubes, Carbon