The Role of Interface Vibrational Modes in Thermal Boundary Resistance

Christopher M. Stanley, Benjamin K. Rader, Braxton H.D. Laster, Mahsa Servati, Stefan K. Estreicher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Understanding how heat flows across interfaces is vital to energy efficiency and thermal stability of many electrical devices. However, the thermal resistance caused by the interface between two materials, termed Kapitza resistance, remains poorly understood. To that end, several first-principles molecular dynamic simulations and a detailed analysis of the phonon processes and associated transfer of heat at the interfaces of both c-Si|a-SiO2 and c-Si|c-Ge are presented. It is found that in both cases the interface properties are very important. In the case of c-Si|a-SiO2, it is found that interface modes cause inelastic phonon interactions and play a significant role in the total energy transferred. In the case of c-Si|a-SiO2, one is able to quantify this effect and find that there is a small set of interface modes which carry >10% of the heat, and decrease the ultimate thermal boundary resistance by 26.5%.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2100111
JournalPhysica Status Solidi (A) Applications and Materials Science
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Kapitza resistance
  • germanium
  • interfaces
  • oxides
  • phonon gas models
  • silicon
  • thermal boundary resistances


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