Experiments on the Thermal, Electrical, and Plasmonic Properties of Nanostructured Materials
MetadataShow full item record
Nanofabrication techniques continue to advance and are rapidly becoming the primary route to enhancement for the electrical, thermal, and optical properties of materials. The work presented in this dissertation details fabrication and characterization techniques of thin films and nanoparticles for these purposes. The four primary areas of research presented here are thermoelectric enhancement through nanostructured thin films, an alternative frequency-domain thermoreflectance method for thin film thermal conductivity measurement, thermal rectification in nanodendritic porous silicon, and plasmonic enhancement in silver nanospheroids as a reverse photolithography technique. Nanostructured thermoelectrics have been proposed to greatly increase thermopower efficiency and to bring thermoelectrics to mainstream power generation and cooling applications. In our work, thermoelectric thin films of SbTe, BiTe, and PbTe grown by atomic layer deposition and electrochemical atomic layer deposition were characterized for enhanced performance over corresponding bulk materials. Seebeck coefficient measurements were performed at temperatures ranging from 77 K to 380 K. Atomic composition was verified by energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and structures were imaged by scanning electron microscopy. All thin films measured were ultimately found to have a comparable or smaller Seebeck coefficient to corresponding materials made by conventional techniques, likely due to issues with the growth process. Frequency-domain thermoreflectance offers a minimally invasive optical pump-probe technique for measuring thermal conductivity. Like time-domain thermoreflectance, the version of frequency-domain thermoreflectance demonstrated here relies on a non-zero thermo-optic coefficient in the sample, but uses moderate cost continuous wave lasers modulated at kHz or MHz frequencies rather than a more expensive ultrafast laser system. The longer timescales of these frequency ranges enables this technique to take measurements of films with thicknesses ranging from 100 nm to 10 um, complimentary to time-domain thermoreflectance. This method differentiates itself from other frequency-domain methods in that it is also capable of simultaneous independent measurements of both the in plane and out of plane values of the thermal conductivity in anisotropic samples through relative reflective magnitude, rather than phase, measurements. We validated this alternate technique by measuring the thermal conductivity of Al2O3 and soda-lime and found agreement both with literature values and with separate measurements obtained with a conventional time-domain thermoreflectance setup. Thermal rectification has the potential to enhance microcircuit performance, improve thermoelectric efficiency, and enable the creation of thermal logic circuits. Passive thermal rectification has been proposed to occur in geometrically asymmetric nanostructures when heat conduction is dominated by ballistic phonons. Here, nanodendritic structures with branch widths of ~ 10 nm and lengths of ~ 20 nm connected to ~ 50 um long trunks were electrochemically etched from <111> silicon wafers. Thermal rectification measurements were performed at temperatures ranging from 80 K to 250 K by symmetric thermal conductivity measurements. No thermal rectification was ultimately found in these samples within the margin of thermal conductivity measurement error 1%. This result is consistent with another study which found thermal rectification with greater conduction in the direction opposite to what ballistic phonon heat conduction theories predicted. Plasmonic resonance concentrates incident photon energy and enables channeling of that energy into sub-wavelength volumes where it can be used for nanoscale applications. We demonstrated that surface plasmon polaritons induced in silver nanosphereoid films by 532 nm light defunctionalize previously photocleaved ligands adsorbed onto the films, to yield a reverse photolithographic technique. In this method, gold nanosphere conjugation were conjugated to a photocleaved ligand, however conjugation could be inhibited by exposing the cleaved ligand to 532 nm light and consequently yield a reversal technique. This defunctionalizion effect did not occur on gold films or nanoparticles conjugated with the ligand in IR spectroscopy, and was observed to have a reduced effect in silver films relative to silver nanospheroid film. As silver nanospheroid films and gold nanospheres of the size used in this study are known to have plasmon resonance in the green wavelengths, while gold and silver continuous films do not, this defunctionalization likely results from plasmonic effects.
- Doctoral Dissertations