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Title: Microsegregation effects on the thermal conductivity of silicon-germanium alloys

A silicon-germanium (SiGe) alloy is a promising candidate for thermoelectric materials; while it shows a significantly reduced thermal conductivity (κ) as compared to pure Si and Ge, the κ values obtained from previous experiments and computations tend to be widely scattered. We present here a computational analysis of thermal transport in SiGe, particularly the effects of the local segregation (microsegregation) of alloying elements. Our nonequilibrium molecular dynamics simulations confirm the strong dependence of κ on the Si:Ge ratio and the occurrence of the minimum κ around Si{sub 0.8}Ge{sub 0.2}, consistent with existing experimental observations. Moreover, our study clearly demonstrates that the κ of Si{sub 0.8}Ge{sub 0.2} increases substantially and monotonically as Ge atoms undergo segregation; that is, the magnitude of alloy scattering is found to be sensitive to homogeneity in the distribution of alloying elements. Nonequilibrium Green's function analysis also shows that such microsegregation enhances phonon transmission due to the reduced number of scattering centers. The findings highlight that distribution homogeneity, along with composition, can be a critical factor in determining the κ of SiGe alloys.
Authors:
;  [1]
  1. Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Texas, Austin, Texas 78712 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22257806
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Applied Physics; Journal Volume: 114; Journal Issue: 17; Other Information: (c) 2013 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; GERMANIUM; GERMANIUM ALLOYS; GERMANIUM SILICIDES; GREEN FUNCTION; MOLECULAR DYNAMICS METHOD; SILICON; SIMULATION; THERMAL CONDUCTIVITY; THERMOELECTRIC MATERIALS; TRANSMISSION