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Experimental observation of high thermal conductivity in boron arsenide

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Science  05 Jul 2018:
eaat5522
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat5522

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Abstract

Improving thermal management of small scale devices requires developing materials with high thermal conductivities. The semiconductor boron arsenide (BAs) is an attractive target due to ab initio calculation indicating single crystals have an ultrahigh thermal conductivity. We synthesized BAs single crystals with undetectable defects, and measured a room temperature thermal conductivity of 1300 W/mK. Our spectroscopy study in conjunction with atomistic theory reveals that the unique band structure of BAs allows for very long phonon mean free paths and strong high-order anharmonicity through the four-phonon process. The single-crystal BAs has better thermal properties than other metals and semiconductors. Our study establishes BAs as a benchmark material for thermal management applications, and exemplifies the power of combing experiments and ab initio theory in new materials discovery.

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