Park, W., Sood, A., Park, J., Asheghi, M., Sinclair, R., and Goodson, K.E., 2017, “Enhanced Thermal Conduction through Nanostructured Interfaces,” Nanoscale and Microscale Thermophysical Engineering, pp. 134-144.
Interfaces dominate heat conduction in nanostructured systems, and much work has focused on methods to enhance interfacial conduction. These approaches generally address planar interfaces, where the heat flux vector is everywhere normal to the interface. Here, we explore a nanostructured interface geometry that uses nonplanar features to enhance the effective interfacial conductance beyond what is possible with planar interfaces. This interface consists of interdigitating Al pillars embedded within SiO2 with characteristic feature size ranging from 100 nm to 800 nm. The total sidewall surface area is modulated to highlight the impact of this additional channel by changing the pillar-to-pillar pitch Lp between 1.6 µm and 200 nm while maintaining the same Al:SiO2 fill fraction. Using optical pump-probe thermoreflectance measurements, we show that the effective conductance of a ~65 nm thick fin layer monotonically increases with decreasing Lp, and that the conductance for Lp = 200 nm is more than twice the prediction for a layered stack with the same volume ratio and a planar interface. Through a combination of Boltzmann transport modeling and finite element calculations, we explore the impact of the pitch Lp and the pillar aspect ratio on effective thermal conductance. This analysis suggests that the concept of nanostructured interfaces can be extended to interfaces between diffusive and quasi-ballistic media in highly scaled devices. Our work proposes that the controlled texturing of interfaces can facilitate interfacial conduction beyond the planar interface regime, opening new avenues for thermal management at the nanoscale.