Low frequency phonon transport in C60 fullerite: Paper published in Phys. Rev. B – Congrats Ash Giri!

Congrats to Ash Giri for his recent publication in Phys. Rev. B on the pronounced low-frequency vibrational thermal transport in C60 fullerite realized through pressure-dependent molecular dynamics simulations.

Giri, A., Hopkins, P.E., “Pronounced low-frequency vibrational thermal transport in C60 fullerite realized through pressure-dependent molecular dynamics simulations,” Physical Review B 96, 220303(R) (2017). PDF.

Abstract: Fullerene condensed-matter solids can possess thermal conductivities below their minimum glassy limit while theorized to be stiffer than diamond when crystallized under pressure. These seemingly disparate extremes in thermal and mechanical properties raise questions into the pressure dependence on the thermal conductivity of C60 fullerite crystals, and how the spectral contributions to vibrational thermal conductivity changes under applied pressure. To answer these questions, we investigate the effect of strain on the thermal conductivity of C60 fullerite crystals via pressure-dependent molecular dynamics simulations under the Green-Kubo formalism. We show that the thermal conductivity increases rapidly with compressive strain, which demonstrates a power-law relationship similar to their stress-strain relationship for the C60 crystals. Calculations of the density of states for the crystals under compressive strains reveal that the librational modes characteristic in the unstrained case are diminished due to densification of the molecular crystal. Over a large compression range (0–20 GPa), the Leibfried-Schlömann equation is shown to adequately describe the pressure dependence of thermal conductivity, suggesting that low-frequency intermolecular vibrations dictate heat flow in the C60 crystals. A spectral decomposition of the thermal conductivity supports this hypothesis.

We would like to thank the Army Research Office for support (Grant No. W911NF-16-1-0320).

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