Congratulations Dr. Ramez Cheaito on a successful PhD Defense!

Congrats to the new doctor! Dr. Ramez Cheaito successfully defended his PhD, which is focused on size effects on the electron and phonon thermal conductivity of alloy, superlattice and multilayer thin films.  The title of his dissertation is “The Role of Size Effects on the Thermal Conductivity of Thin Film Alloys and Superlattices”.  At the time of his PhD defense, Dr. Cheaito’s work at U.Va. resulted in 13 journal publications and 123 citations.  Dr. Cheaito’s dissertation abstract is copied below.  CONGRATS DR. CHEAITO!!



Advancements in modern technologies have relied primarily on the miniaturization of electronic devices. As the dimensions a these devices are reduced to hundreds of nanometers, thermal management becomes a challenge. Performances are now dictated by the amount of power a device can dissipate before surpassing the temperature set by reliability requirements. Understanding thermal transport in thin film nanostructures is a key element in manufacturing devices with long lifetimes and better energy efficiencies.
The role of size effects on the behavior of heat carriers in thin film structures and across interfaces have been the focus of numerous studies over the past few decades. However, discrepancies among studies on phonon behavior obstruct the understanding of the fundamental processes governing phonon transport. On the other hand, the lack of data on electron thermal transport across interfaces and in periodic structures motivates more research in this direction. This dissertation presents thermal conductivity measurement results on four different material systems of sample thicknesses spanning three orders of magnitude to provide a deep understanding into the processes of phonon and electron thermal transport in thin film alloys and superlattices. Measurements were performed using time-domain thermoreflectance, a non-contact, optical method for the thermal characterization of bulk and thin film materials.

The effect of boundary scattering of long mean free path phonons on the thermal conductivity of thin film SiGe alloys and AlAs-GaAs superlattices is thoroughly discussed in light of the spectral contribution of these phonons to thermal transport. The interplay between short and long range boundary scattering in AlAs-GaAs superlattices is studied by systematically varying the period and film thicknesses. Phonon coherence in epitaxially grown strontium titanate – calcium titanate superlattices is demonstrated by showing a minimum in the thermal conductivity as a function of period thickness. For electrons, the interplay between electron characteristic length and the materials’ intrinsic properties is studied via measurements of the thermal interface conductance in Cu-Nb multilayers.

A major result of this dissertation is demonstrating the possibility of achieving a desired thermal conductivity by prescribing both the period and sample thickness of a superlattice, a result that has important implications on thermal management and thermal engineering applications.

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