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Thermal conductivity of isotopically modified graphene


In addition to its exotic electronic properties1,2 graphene exhibits unusually high intrinsic thermal conductivity3,4,5,6. The physics of phonons—the main heat carriers in graphene—has been shown to be substantially different in two-dimensional (2D) crystals, such as graphene, from in three-dimensional (3D) graphite7,8,9,10. Here, we report our experimental study of the isotope effects on the thermal properties of graphene. Isotopically modified graphene containing various percentages of 13C were synthesized by chemical vapour deposition (CVD). The regions of different isotopic compositions were parts of the same graphene sheet to ensure uniformity in material parameters. The thermal conductivity, K, of isotopically pure 12C (0.01% 13C) graphene determined by the optothermal Raman technique3,4,5,6,7,10, was higher than 4,000 W mK−1 at the measured temperature Tm~320 K, and more than a factor of two higher than the value of K in graphene sheets composed of a 50:50 mixture of 12C and 13C. The experimental data agree well with our molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, corrected for the long-wavelength phonon contributions by means of the Klemens model. The experimental results are expected to stimulate further studies aimed at a better understanding of thermal phenomena in 2D crystals.

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Figure 1: Micro-Raman characteristics of the isotopically modified graphene.
Figure 2: Thermal conductivity K of the suspended graphene film with 13C isotope concentrations of 0.01%, 1.1% (natural abundance), 50% and 99.2%, respectively, as a function of the temperature measured with the micro-Raman spectrometer.
Figure 3: Thermal conductivity of graphene as a function of its isotopic composition.


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The authors appreciate comments by L. Shi and H. Zhao. The work at UTA was supported by the National Science Foundation grant no. 1006350, the W. M. Keck Foundation, and the Office of Naval Research. The work at XMU was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China through grant nos. 91123009, 111104228, 10975115, 60827004 and 90921002 and the ‘973’ program 2012CB619301 and 2011CB925600. The work at UCR was supported, in part, by the Semiconductor Research Corporation—Defense Advanced Research Project Agency FCRP Functional Engineered Nano Architectonic centre, National Science Foundation and US Office of Naval Research. K.C. was supported by the NRF of Korea through WCU program grant no. R-31-2008-000-10083-0. R.S.R. acknowledges the support of the W.M. Keck Foundation.

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Authors and Affiliations



R.S.R. coordinated the project and data analysis; A.A.B. led the thermal data analysis; S.C. performed sample growth, measurements and data analysis; W.C. carried out the Raman optothermal measurement and data analysis. Q.W. assisted on the sample transfer. C.M. and J.K. contributed to the discussion of the data analysis. H.Z. and K.C. performed MD simulations; S.C., W.C., R.S.R. and A.A.B. wrote the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Weiwei Cai or Alexander A. Balandin.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Chen, S., Wu, Q., Mishra, C. et al. Thermal conductivity of isotopically modified graphene. Nature Mater 11, 203–207 (2012).

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