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Molecular simulations and lattice dynamics determination of Stillinger-Weber GaN thermal conductivity

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journal contribution
posted on 01.09.2015, 00:00 by Zhi Liang, Ankit Jain, Alan J.H. McGaughey, Pawel Keblinksi

The bulk thermal conductivity of Stillinger-Weber (SW) wurtzite GaN in the [0001] direction at a temperature of 300 K is calculated using equilibrium molecular dynamics (EMD), non-equilibrium MD (NEMD), and lattice dynamics (LD) methods. While the NEMD method predicts athermal conductivity of 166 ± 11 W/m·K, both the EMD and LD methods predict thermal conductivities that are an order of magnitude greater. We attribute the discrepancy to significant contributions to thermal conductivity from long-mean free path phonons. We propose that the Grüneisen parameter for low-frequency phonons is a good predictor of the severity of the size effects in NEMD thermal conductivity prediction. For weakly anharmonic crystals characterized by small Grüneisen parameters, accurate determination of thermal conductivity by NEMD is computationally impractical. The simulation results also indicate the GaN SW potential, which was originally developed for studying the atomic-level structure of dislocations, is not suitable for prediction of its thermal conductivity.


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