Anisotropic and Inhomogeneous Thermal Conduction in Suspended Thin-Film Polycrystalline Diamond

Sood, A., Cho, J., Hobart, K.D., Feygelson, T.I., Pate, B.B., Asheghi, M., Cahill, D.G., and Goodson, K.E., 2016, "Anisotropic and Inhomogeneous Thermal Conduction in Suspended Thin-Film Polycrystalline Diamond," Journal of Applied Physics, Vol. 119, 175103.

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While there is a great wealth of data for thermal transport in synthetic diamond, there remains much to be learned about the impacts of grain structure and associated defects and impurities within a few microns of the nucleation region in films grown using chemical vapor deposition (CVD). Measurements of the inhomogeneous and anisotropic thermal conductivity in films thinner than 10 m have previously been complicated by the presence of the substrate thermal boundary resistance. Here, we study thermal conduction in suspended films of polycrystalline diamond, with thicknesses ranging between 0.5 and 5.6 um, using time-domain thermoreflectance (TDTR).  Measurements on both sides of the films facilitate extraction of the thickness-dependent in-plane (kr) and through-plane (kz) thermal conductivities in the vicinity of the coalescence and high-quality regions. The columnar grain structure makes the conductivity highly anisotropic, with kz being nearly three to five times as large as kr, a contrast higher than reported previously for thicker films. In the vicinity of the high-quality region, kr and kz range from 77 ± 10 W/m-K and 210 ± 50 W/m-K for the 1 um thick film to 130 ± 20 W/m-K and 710 ± 120 W/m-K for the 5.6 um thick film, respectively. The data are interpreted using a model relating the anisotropy to the scattering on the boundaries of columnar grains and the evolution of the grain size considering their nucleation density and spatial rate of growth. This study aids in the reduction in the near-interfacial resistance of diamond films and efforts to fabricate diamond composites with silicon and GaN for power electronics.

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