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Electron Drag Effect on Thermal Conductivity in Two-Dimensional Semiconductors.

Nano Letters 2024 June 19
Two-dimensional (2D) materials have shown great potential in applications as transistors, where thermal dissipation becomes crucial because of the increasing energy density. Although the thermal conductivity of 2D materials has been extensively studied, interactions between nonequilibrium electrons and phonons, which can be strong when high electric fields and heat current coexist, are not considered. In this work, we systematically study the electron drag effect, where nonequilibrium electrons impart momenta to phonons and influence the thermal conductivity, in 2D semiconductors using ab initio simulations. We find that, at room temperature, electron drag can significantly increase thermal conductivity by decreasing phonon-electron scattering in 2D semiconductors while its impact in three-dimensional semiconductors is negligible. We attribute this difference to the large electron-phonon scattering phase space and larger contribution to thermal conductivity by drag-active phonons. Our work elucidates the fundamental physics underlying coupled electron-phonon transport in materials of various dimensionalities.

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