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  1. AlN thin films are enabling significant progress in modern optoelectronics, power electronics, and microelectromechanical systems. The various AlN growth methods and conditions lead to different film microstructures. In this report, phonon scattering mechanisms that impact the cross-plane (κ z ; along the c-axis) and in-plane (κ r ; parallel to the c-plane) thermal conductivities of AlN thin films prepared by various synthesis techniques are investigated. In contrast to bulk single crystal AlN with an isotropic thermal conductivity of ∼330 W/m K, a strong anisotropy in the thermal conductivity is observed in the thin films. The κ z shows a strong film thickness dependence due to phonon-boundary scattering. Electron microscopy reveals the presence of grain boundaries and dislocations that limit the κ r . For instance, oriented films prepared by reactive sputtering possess lateral crystalline grain sizes ranging from 20 to 40 nm that significantly lower the κ r to ∼30 W/m K. Simulation results suggest that the self-heating in AlN film bulk acoustic resonators can significantly impact the power handling capability of RF filters. A device employing an oriented film as the active piezoelectric layer shows an ∼2.5× higher device peak temperature as compared to a device based on an epitaxial film.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 7, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  3. Hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) has drawn keen interest as a thin-film semiconductor and superb passivation layer in high-efficiency silicon solar cells due to its low cost, low processing temperature, high compatibility with substrates, and scalable manufacturing. Although the impact of hydrogenation on the structural, optical, and electronic properties of a-Si:H has been extensively studied, the underlying physics of its impact on the thermal properties is still unclear. Here, we synthesize a-Si:H films with well-controlled hydrogen concentrations using plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition and systematically study the thermal conductivity of these a-Si:H films using time-domain thermoreflectance. We find that the reduction of thermal conductivity of a-Si:H films is attributed to the suppression of diffuson and propagon contributions as the hydrogen concentration increases. At the maximum hydrogen concentration of 25.4 atomic percentage, the contributions from diffusons and propagons to the thermal conductivity are decreased by 40% (from 1.10 to 0.67 W m −1 K −1 ) and 64% (from 0.61 to 0.22 W m −1 K −1 ), respectively. Such a significant reduction in the thermal conductivity of a-Si:H originates from the hydrogen induced material softening, the decrease in density, and phonon-defect scattering. The results of this work provide fundamental insights into themore »thermal transport properties of a-Si:H thin films, which is beneficial for the design and optimization of amorphous silicon-based technologies including photovoltaics, large-area electronics, and thermoelectric devices.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 21, 2022
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 28, 2023
  5. • Water is the primary cellular solvent, yet is challenging to simulate computationally. Here we simulate water molecules in the Gramicidin A channel comparing Monte Carlo (MC) sampling with a continuum electrostatics and Molecular Dynamics (MD) calculations with the non-polarizable CHARMM36 and polarizable Drude force fields. • These give different water properties, with classical MD yielding well oriented water wires, while the Drude or continuum electrostatics force fields lead to more disordered water molecules, often changing orientation in the middle of the channel.