Heat conduction in polymer chains: Effect of substrate on the thermal conductance

Mohammadhasan Dinpajooh, Abraham Nitzan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In standard molecular junctions, a molecular structure is placed between and connected to metal leads. Understanding how mechanical tuning in such molecular junctions can change heat conductance has interesting applications in nanoscale energy transport. In this work, we use nonequilibrium molecular dynamics simulations to address the effect of stretching on the phononic contribution to the heat conduction of molecular junctions consisting of single long-chain alkanes and various metal leads, such as Ag, Au, Cu, Ni, and Pt. The thermal conductance of such junctions is found to be much smaller than the intrinsic thermal conductance of the polymer and significantly depends on the nature of metal leads as expressed by the metal-molecule coupling and metal vibrational density of states. This behavior is expected and reflects the mismatch of phonon spectra at the metal molecule interfaces. As a function of stretching, we find a behavior similar to what was observed earlier [M. Dinpajooh and A. Nitzan, J. Chem. Phys. 153, 164903 (2020)] for pure polymeric structures. At relatively short electrode distances, where the polyethylene chains are compressed, it is found that the thermal conductances of the molecular junctions remain almost constant as one stretches the polymer chains. At critical electrode distances, the thermal conductances start to increase, reaching the values of the fully extended molecular junctions. Similar behaviors are observed for junctions in which several long-chain alkanes are sandwiched between various metal leads. These findings indicate that this behavior under stretching is an intrinsic property of the polymer chain and not significantly associated with the interfacial structures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number144901
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Volume156
Issue number14
DOIs
StatePublished - 14 Apr 2022

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