Simultaneous specific heat and thermal conductivity measurement of individual nanostructures

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Fundamental phonon transport properties in semiconductor nanostructures are important for their applications in energy conversion and storage, such as thermoelectrics and photovoltaics. Thermal conductivity measurements of semiconductor nanostructures have been extensively pursued and have enhanced our understanding of phonon transport physics. Specific heat of individual nanostructures, despite being an important thermophysical parameter that reflects the thermodynamics of solids, has remained difficult to characterize. Prior measurements were limited to ensembles of nanostructures in which coupling and sample inhomogeneity could play a role. Herein we report the first simultaneous specific heat and thermal conductivity measurements of individual rod-like nanostructures such as nanowires and nanofibers. This technique is demonstrated by measuring the specific heat and thermal conductivity of single ∼600-700 nm diameter Nylon-11 nanofibers (NFs). The results show that the thermal conductivity of the NF is increased by 50% over the bulk value, while the specific heat of the NFs exhibits bulk-like behavior. We find that the thermal diffusivity obtained from the measurement, which is related to the phonon mean free path (MFP), decreases with temperature, indicating that the intrinsic phonon Umklapp scattering plays a role in the NFs. This platform can also be applied to one- and two- dimensional semiconductor nanostructures to probe size effects on the phonon spectra and other transport physics. © 2016 IOP Publishing Ltd.


nanofiber; nanowire; phonon spectra; specific heat; thermal conductivity

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